Coal Mining Industry Facts

B.C. Coal Resources

British Columbia has 12.9 billion tonnes of potentially mineable coal resources.

Coal is primarily located in the East Kootenay coalfields in southeast BC (8 billion tonnes) and the Peace River coalfield in northeast BC (4.9 billion tonnes).

BC has 10 operating coal mines located in the northeast (Peace River area) and the southeast (Kootenay area), and Vancouver Island.

Additional coal project sites throughout the province are under exploration or at other stages of advanced development.

Nine mines produce metallurgical coal (used for making steel) and one mine (located on Vancouver Island) produces thermal coal.

Canadian coal is highly sought after because of its low sulfur, low ash, and high carbon content which burn more cleanly than other coals.

Economic and Social Impacts

The coal mining industry contributes just over $3.2 billion in value-added GDP to the provincial economy.

In 2011, the value of provincial coal production reached $5.7 billion.

Total tax payments made by the coal mining industry to all levels of government in 2011 was $715.2 million – this includes $399 million in tax revenue generated by economic activity and $316.2 million in mineral taxes paid to the BC Government.

Tax revenue from coal helps government support infrastructure and government programs which enrich the lives of people living in BC.


Over 26,000 jobs in BC are directly and indirectly attributable to the coal industry.

The estimated average yearly wage for workers directly employed by coal companies was $95,174 in 2011. This is twice that of the provincial wage of $43,500.

Production and Exports

In 2011, BC coal production represented almost 40% of national coal production.

BC has produced around 26.7 million tonnes of primarily metallurgical (steel-making coal) and thermal coal every year.

Export sales for metallurgical and thermal coal were $7.1 billion in 2011, representing 21.8% of total exports from British Columbia.

Canada is the third largest exporter of metallurgical coal after Australia and the United States and 89% of Canadian metallurgical coal comes from BC.

Coal exports are a major contributor to BC’s export activity making up 21.8% of total provincial exports in 2011.

Japan and South Korea consumed the largest share of BC’s total metallurgical coal exports, however China’s demand for BC coal has been on the rise recently.

Source: Coal Association of Canada. For more information visit