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Mining industry surges forward in 2011

B.C.’s $7-billion mining industry is reason to celebrate Mining Week, May 8-14, with employment, revenue, exports, production and prices all up over the previous year and on the rise.

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 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.

• 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.

Quick facts

• In 2010, the price index of B.C.’s major mineral products— metallurgical coal, copper, gold, silver, lead, zinc and molybdenum—climbed by 49.41 per cent.

• B.C. produces and exports a significant amount of metallurgical coal, copper, gold, silver, lead, zinc, molybdenum and industrial minerals every year.

• B.C. is one of the world’s largest exporters of seaborne metallurgical coal. Metallurgical coal is used in the production of steel.

Learn more

• Mining Association of BC: http://www.mining.bc.ca/

• Mineral resources education: http://www.bcminerals.ca/s/home.asp

• Ministry of Energy and Mines: http://www.empr.gov.bc.ca/Mining/MineralStatistics/Pages/Default.aspx