B.C.’s $7-billion mining industry is reason to celebrate this Mining Week, May 8-14, with employment, revenue, exports, production and prices all up over the previous year and on the rise.
Mining Week is sponsored by the Mining Association of British Columbia, which represents the collective needs and interests of operating coal, metal and industrial mineral mining companies. The province has eight metal mines and 10 coal mines in operation, as well as more than 30 industrial minerals mines and over 650 aggregate pits and quarries.
The B.C. government is working hard to facilitate the investment climate to attract to new mine development.
The mining boom is being fuelled by the global recovery in manufacturing, and in particular the strong demand for raw materials in Asia. Mineral exploration spending increased to $322 million in 2010, more than doubling the 2009 figure of $154 million.
In this investment climate, new mines are opening. The Copper Mountain copper-gold mine outside Princeton is set to open this summer. The New Afton major copper and gold mine near Kamloops will open in 2012 and Mount Milligan, a copper-gold mine half-way between Fort St. James and Mackenzie, is currently under construction, and plans to begin operations in 2013.
Why It Matters:
Every year, each British Columbian uses almost 22,500 kilograms (50,000 pounds) of mined products. Brush your teeth, turn on a light bulb, drive a car or ride your bike on the road, flick on the television, use a camera or telephone and you are affected by the mining industry.
Mining contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that helps pay for government services like health care and education. More than $400 million is estimated for 2010.
All of B.C.’s operating mines are profitable, tax revenues are rising, and direct employment is growing.
In 2010, more than 28,400 people were employed in the minerals economy in over 50 B.C. communities: approximately 11,400 in mining, 2,700 in exploration and the rest in smelting, refining and downstream mineral processing.