Priorities & Key Messages

BC’s mineral exploration & mining industry: key drivers for BC's economy

Election 2017 – Facts and Messages about BC’s Mineral Exploration and Mining Industry


BC’s mineral exploration and mining industry remains a major driver for the BC economy. BC has 14 operating mines, more than 30 industrial mineral producers and two smelters.

In 2015, mining contributed $7.78 billion to the BC economy and $476 million in payments to government, contributing revenues that support education and healthcare, while also providing the minerals, metals and steelmaking coal needed for things like wind turbines, computers, bicycles, transit systems and hydroelectric energy production and distribution.

There were 177 mineral exploration companies exploring 259 projects in 2016. In 2016, $205 million was spent on mineral exploration in BC for metal and coal projects and $1.2 billion was spent on capital expenditures in the mining industry.

The mining industry directly and indirectly employs over 30,000 The mining industry directly and indirectly employs over 30,000 British ColumbiansBritish Columbians. Across BC, in both rural and urban areas, 8,726 direct jobs were directly supported by mining in 2015. Mineral exploration directly employs another 6,000 British Columbians. Studies consistently show that for every direct mining job, there are at least two indirect jobs supported in a variety of occupations including: professional, trades, physical science, human resources, financial & technical roles. 

Industry Priorities

General Messages

Mining is an essential part of the economic and social fabric of the province, and a healthy, thriving, responsible mining industry benefits all British Columbians. Industry needs government programs and policies that support geoscience, exploration, development, construction, production and reclamation.  The mining industry is poised to continue to play a key role in the economy of BC in the coming years.  Government, industry, First Nations and communities must work together to benefit from the community-building economic opportunities presented by the mining industry.


The products mined in BC are sold at prices determined by global markets. Therefore, effective tax structures are of the utmost importance to ensure the industry remains globally competitive and continues to grow jobs in BC. BC mineral exploration and mining companies must both compete for investment dollars with other mineral-rich mining jurisdictions around the world and be operationally cost competitive.

Cost pressures are compounded for operators and project proponents when there is uncertainty in scope and timelines in the mine permitting and environmental assessment processes, as well as ongoing policy changes that affect competitiveness.

Access to Capital

British Columbia has a long history of mineral exploration, development, and mining. The City of Vancouver is a business cluster for national and international companies and is renowned as the global centre of expertise and excellence in mineral exploration, mining, and mineral production. Fifty-eight percent of the TSXV & TSX listed mineral exploration and mining companies are headquartered in BC; more than 800 public and private exploration and mining companies operate from British Columbia. The Government of BC must continue to value the importance of tax incentives like the flow through shares and the Mining Exploration Tax Credit (BC METC) to keep investment dollars in Canada and BC.

Adequate Resources for Government

The mining industry has consistently advocated for adequately resourcing for government agencies to ensure there are predictable and clear regulatory processes that lead to timely decisions for industry. From mineral exploration to mine development, operation and closure, mining proponents and operators in BC participate in multiple regulatory processes, including notices of work, environmental assessment reviews, mine permitting, mine inspections and reclamation. The permitting process from exploration through to reclamation must have well defined timelines and a clear decision-making process for each stage of development. Permitting delays caused by a lack of government resources halts private sector investment and job creation for both mining projects and operations.

Land Access

It is critical to ensure access to land in order to conduct temporary and low impact mineral exploration. Supporting opportunities to find valuable, but hidden, mineral and coal resources benefits all British Columbians. Minimizing restrictions to access the land for exploration to occur increases the potential for discoveries that become valuable new sources of economic development and contribute essential commodities that support society’s transition to a lower carbon economy.

First Nations

The mining industry remains committed to developing positive relationships with First Nations that complement the relationships and legal obligations of the Crown, are meaningful, and lead to positive economic growth and community stability. Mutually beneficial relationships between the industry and First Nations are critical to ensuring the effective review and timely approvals of mining projects. Revenue-sharing is important to ensure that First Nations share in the economic benefits of mining. The Government revenue sharing policy should continue to be implemented for new and expanded mines.

Mineral exploration and mine development activity occurs on mineral and coal-rich lands that are typically near rural-based First Nations communities. The opportunity for meaningful First Nations participation is important for a thriving industry. Industry encourages government, at all levels, to resolve long-standing land claims and to develop a practical and meaningful path forward for communities. Coordination between government agencies on consultation and permitting is critical. Consistency between delegated responsibilities and guidelines issued by various agencies of government is important to meet the Crown’s consultation obligations. 

Safety and Environmental Stewardship

The mining industry is committed to safety, environmental stewardship and meaningful engagement with First Nations, communities and the public. The mining industry is one of the safest heavy industries in BC and the industry is committed to ensuring mine workers go home safely every day.

Skills and Training

The Mining Industry Human Resources Council forecasts that BC’s mineral exploration industry will need thousands of new workers over the next 10 years.  A robust labour supply is essential to ensuring that employers can meet their potential hiring requirements and support industry growth and government supported skills training is essential to meet forecasted labour needs. It is important that employers, government, First Nations peoples, labour, and educational institutions work collaboratively to create effective workforce planning and management tools to support long-term industry sustainability.