Potential New Mine Operations in British Columbia

CIM Edmonton 2008
Abstract This paper will review the value of current mine operations to the British Columbia economy and the contributions to sustainability that major new mine operations could potentially generate.

Due to higher commodity prices, favourable geology and government policies, mineral exploration and potential mining activities in British Columbia have surged in the last few years. It is expected that simultaneous increases in resource demands in Brazil, Russia, India and China will result in sustained high levels of growth in the mining sector in BC. In 2006, a record $265 million was invested in 617 mineral exploration projects, compared to just $25 million spent in 1999. It is estimated that over $400 million will be spent in exploration in 2007. From only one in 2001, there are now more than 30 advance mine development projects in the approval process, representing almost half of the total new mine projects in Canada. Taken together, these new projects represent a potential of $10 billion in new investment, 10,000 thousand new well paying jobs and significant social benefits to British Columbia.

Aside from aggregates and industrial minerals, the major products of BC mines include copper, coal, zinc, gold, silver, lead, and molybdenum. From just a fraction of the land base (~30,000 ha or 0.03% of the province), twenty active metal and coal mines safely generated annual gross revenues of over $8 billion and employed more than 28,000 people (indirect and direct) in 2006. Payments to government from these active BC mines amounted to $800 million in 2006.

Mining in British Columbia is one of the most stringently regulated industries, with requirements to operate under federal and provincial laws, policies and standards. Mines in BC spent more than $70 million in 2005 reclaiming the land. The open pit and underground metal and coal mining industry is renowned as the safest heavy industry in BC, with an injury rate in 2006 of 1.9 injuries per 100 worker years. Over the past ten years, the injury rate for this sector has decreased by over 50% - a phenomenal achievement.

The current success of so many BC mining operations in key areas (safety, environmental, economic) exemplifies the professional and modern nature of BC mining – and should be seen as a very strong indicator of the potential contributions new mine operations will make to British Columbia and to Canada.

Keywords: British Columbia, Value, Exploration, Geology, Mining, potential, economic, Sustainability, Operations, Growth
Full Access to Technical Paper
PDF version for $20.00
Other papers from CIM Edmonton 2008