Mining Industry in Review
Keystone Mountain is full of old gold mines. They say the mother load is still inside of it somewhere! Located in Salmo, British Columbia.
British Columbia’s mineral exploration and mining industry finished out a strong 2012, thanks in part to strong demand in Asia and a renewal of the mining industry.
BC has 19 major mines provide high-paying, stable jobs and opportunities for families and communities across the province..
Since 2011, two new major mines began production, with four more receiving permits and having construction already started. Additionally, in 2012, the Province has approved five major expansions of existing mines.
Rich Coleman Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas says that 2012 was a good year for mining in the province. “This is a strong ending to 2012 for our mineral exploration and mining sector,” says Coleman. “As we look forward to the coming 2013, it is more important than ever to make sure that British Columbia’s mining industry remains well-positioned while ensuring that the commitment to high environmental standards is kept.”
The provincial government is working to make regulatory processes more efficient while maintaining high safety and environmental standards. Progress on regulatory accountability has already begun as the initial commitment to reduce existing backlog on Notice of Work permits was met, and in 2012 over 335 permits received approval for exploration.
The government is reviewing regulations to exempt low-risk exploration and mining activities from requiring Mines Act permits. The province and the federal government are working to develop a single, effective environmental assessment process while maintaining the highest standards.
The mining sector, like almost every other sector, faces a series of challenges in making sure it has the right people, with the right skills, in the right places. The BC government facilitates skills development in mineral exploration and mining in a number of ways, but even with a multitude of programs in place, there may not be enough workers to fill job openings over the next decade.
“Jobs continue to be our focus,” says Coleman. “Making sure that British Columbians have the skills needed to support our up and coming new mines is vitally important to our continued success.”
Mining revenues to government in 2011 were a record $805-million, up $114-million from 2010 levels. While 2012 is not likely to see these record levels repeat, the mineral exploration and mining industry in British Columbia is looking to remain strong for 2013 and beyond.
Why It Matters:
Every British Columbian uses almost 23,000 kilograms (about 50,000 pounds) of mined products each year. When you brush your teeth, turn on a light, drive a car, ride your bike, put on the television, use a camera or telephone, you are supporting the mining industry.
Mining contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue that help pay for government services like health care and education.
In 2011, more than 29,000 people were employed in BC’s mineral exploration, mining and related sectors, mostly in rural British Columbia. The average mining salary in BC is $108,000.
In 2011, the mining industry increased its value by 20 percent from the year before to approximately $8.6 billion.
BC produces and exports a significant amount of metallurgical coal, copper, gold, silver, lead, zinc, molybdenum and industrial minerals every year.
In 2010, BC produced 196 million kilograms of copper valued at $1.4 billion, or enough to use in more than one million homes.
BC is one of the world’s largest exporters of seaborne metallurgical coal. Metallurgical coal is used in the production of steel.