03/01/2015 07:15 EST | Updated 05/01/2015 05:59 EDT

Ottawa to extend tax credit for mining companies

TORONTO - The federal government plans to extend a tax credit for junior mining companies into next year.

The government wants to extend the 15 per cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit until March of 2016 — it's currently due to expire at the end of the month.

The government says since 2006, the tax credit has helped junior mining companies raise over $5.5 billion for exploration.

According to the government, in 2013, more than 250 companies issued shares eligible for the credit to more than 19,000 individual investors.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver and Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford made the announcement on Sunday at a mining conference in Toronto.

Oliver says the tax credit is part of the government's effort to support the mining industry and the 380,000 jobs it creates.