Today, mining in British Columbia is an estimated $5.6 billion dollar industry – almost double what it was in 2001. Last year, the exploration industry boosted spending in the province to an historic all-time record of $416 million billion. The mining sector is now one of the most vibrant job creation sectors in the province. More than 28,000 people in 50 communities throughout the province are employed in the minerals and coal economy. In 2007, the BC mining industry reported phenomenal net income of $1.2 billion dollars, with gross revenues of $6.9 billion dollars.

Mining has always been a vital part of BC’s economy. It provides more than 7,400 jobs directly and has helped support more than 50 communities around the province. Currently, B.C. has 56 operating mines and a further 29 mines proposed and under review by the B.C. government. Excluding oil and gas, mining has three sub-division in B.C. : aggregates, coal, and metal.

Aggregates or Non-metals, such as limestone and graphite, contribute more than $2 million annually in Crown royalties and employs more than 2,000 people directly. Of the 42 million tonnes produced annually, only 5% or 2.1 million tonnes are exported.

Coal is BC’s number one exported mineral, contributing close to 35% of B.C.’s annual mineral production value at close to $2 billion dollars. B.C. is the world's second largest metallurgical coal exporter – about 25 million tonnes a year. Coal mines make significant contributions to the economy through transportation and port handling, and through the acquisition of goods and services in local areas. It provides the local communities with secure, long term, well-paying jobs with an annual salary around $80,000 CAD a year. B.C. coal represents a third of the industrial traffic at the Port of Vancouver, the largest port in Canada.

The metal mining sector currently provides over 2,500 direct jobs and pays among the highest average industrial wages in the province. Over the past 20 years British Columbia’s mining industry has produced about $1.4 billion worth of copper, gold, molybdenum, lead, zinc and other metals annually. (Ministry of EMPR, 2007) After coal, copper is the highest valued metal mined in B.C. with 250 million kilograms worth $1.9 billion dollars. The mineral exploration and mining industries affects both the economic and geographic aspect of B.C. and stimulates regional economies, small communities and infrastructure within B.C. (Ministry of EMPR, 2008)

Critical to steel production (ex. Pulverized Coal Injection (PCI) coal, Coking Coal)

A major source for world electricity generation

Used in almost every appliance and car; medical equipment

Used in jewellery, coins, electrical contacts

Used in photography, mirrors, dental work

Used in galvanizing steel, TV screens, plastics

Used mainly in steel production, medical implants, tools

Used in batteries, solder, paint/p>

Such as magnesite, zeolites, medical clays, sulphur, silica and garnet

Such as limestone, sand, gravel and stone

Used in fuel cell production

British Columbia is blessed with excellent geology, an abundance of low-cost power, excellent transportation systems, highly-skilled labour, and modern ports with a strategic location to Asian markets. With emerging markets like China, Brazil, and India, the B.C. mining industry has much to gain in helping meet their needs. The B.C. Government’s “Mining Plan” is a comprehensive strategy to help the province recognize the potential of one of its most important industries. The Plan addresses a range of factors which sets the stage for a healthy mining industry that delivers community benefits and is sustainable for years to come. (Ministry of EMPR, 2007)

Figure 1: PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada (2007)