Bralorne looking forward to a golden future 

The old-timers still talk about the fist-sized gold clumps they pulled out of the Bralorne and Pioneer mines in their heyday in the 1930s.

Now a Vancouver company is hoping its motherlode will come from the same source as it readies itself to re-open the Bralorne mine, closed since 1971, in the coming weeks.

"We will start out slowly," said Louis Wolfin, president of Bralorne-Pioneer Gold Mines Ltd.

"Full operation won’t be until next year but we are hoping to get it up and running and fine-tune it to make it a proper operation by November."

Wolfin has been waiting since 1995 to re-open the mine. The delay has been mainly due to the low value of gold.

But now with a resurgence in the price of gold and modern technology Wolfin hopes to squeeze enough profit out of the mine to open it and keep it going.

Gold had slumped to $250 per ounce in the late 1990s but since then it has come back to a more traditional values, even reaching a high of $390.

That’s caused a ripple effect across Canada and around the world.

"When gold was at $250 it simply was uneconomic to mine gold for a lot of the industry," said mining analyst Dorothy Atkinson at Bolder Investment Partners Inc.

"The industry was simply closed down at those prices.

"But as the prices rebound it has become a bit more sensible to go ahead.

"I think most people at this time anticipate that gold will have further strengths. That is mainly based on a weakening of the US dollar, a demand for diversification of assets, and when (investors are) looking around to see what other assets to hold other than currency gold pops back onto the radar screen.

"Certainly in Canada there has been a huge revival."

Mining is a $4 billion industry according to the Mining Association of British Columbia. And while net incomes increased last year and total payments to the government exceeded $333 million in 2002, both gross and net revenues are down.

There are fewer people working in the industry, capital expenditures are down, fewer products were shipped in 2002 than the previous years and there are fewer operating mines left in B.C. and no new mines opened last year.

In fact no new mines have opened since 1998.

But that is set to change if the Bralorne mine comes on line in the coming months.

Currently Bralorne-Pioneer Mines has several specialists at the site north of Pemberton.

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