The Facts About BC Coal

Karina Briño, President & CEO, Mining Association of BC

Most of us know the important role that steel plays in our daily lives, whether it’s the steel used to construct our homes, to make our household appliances, or build the transit we ride to work. But what is not as well-known is that BC’s metallurgical coal — or steelmaking coal — plays a critical role in producing that steel.

Steelmaking coal is required for steel production and British Columbia has been producing among the best quality steelmaking coal in the world for decades. This quality product accounts for the vast majority of coal production in BC and has made our province one of the world’s most important suppliers of steelmaking coal.

Steelmaking coal is a key economic driver in BC, generating $5-billion in economic activity annually. The coal supply chain — from mining town to port city — is responsible for more than 26,000 jobs in BC in the mining, transportation, shipping and other related sectors. The average wage in this industry is $107,000. Today, coal is Port Metro Vancouver’s principal export, accounting for about 25 per cent of the total value of exports each year. And the industry also contributed close to $400 million to government revenues in 2011 alone, helping to pay for critical programs and services, such as health care and education.

In emerging economies, BC’s steelmaking coal is being used to build critical infrastructure, such as housing, hospitals, and rapid transit systems. Our steelmaking coal exports are literally providing the materials needed to build a better quality of life for people all over the world.

Closer to home, steelmaking coal benefits British Columbians in many ways. For example, the amount of steel used in the new Canada Line rapid transit system connecting Richmond and Vancouver, which has thousands of daily riders, would require about 30,000 tonnes of steelmaking coal to make. Even the steel in the average car requires about 630 kilograms of steelmaking coal to produce.

Whether it’s providing revenue to support critical government services, creating family supporting jobs or building infrastructure around the world BC’s steelmaking coal industry is essential to a better quality of life both here and around the world.