British Columbia is one of the world’s most important mining regions, and mining is one of the province’s most important industries. It generates thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in annual sales while providing raw materials for many of the products we rely on every day – from light bulbs to airplanes, all the way down to the very foundations of our homes, schools, hospitals and businesses.
Mining has fuelled economic development in B.C. communities for over 150 years, and it has incredible potential for the future. World demand for coal, metals and minerals is rising, led by industrial growth in places like China and India. Demand is also growing for aggregate materials, such as sand and gravel, to support the booming BC economy and exports to the US.
The B.C. government works closely with First Nations and local government to strengthen the mining communities. By partnering with mining firms, environmental organizations and other groups will ensure that the industry is not only profitable but socially and environmentally responsible and, ultimately, sustainable for the long-term future.
B.C.’s mineral potential is among the best anywhere; having vast, untapped reserves of metals and other resources. B.C. is a very desirable province for mining because taxes are competitive; regulatory requirements have been streamlined; electricity rates are among the lowest in North America; the workforce is highly skilled; and infrastructure is well developed. (Ministry of EMPR, 2007)
As of August 2008, there are 56 mines operating in British Columbia. Of those mines, 21 are solid mineral (metals and coal)-producing mines which contribute almost 90% of B.C.’s total mineral production value on an annual basis. Since, B.C. is Canada’s largest producer of copper, the country’s only producer of molybdenum, and the largest national exporter of coal, 30% of Canada’s mining exploration capital of $500 million is spent in BC. (Ministry of EMPR, 2007)
Below is a map of all the metal and coals mines currently operating in BC:
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