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Mining in British Columbia

The province of British Columbia lies within part of the Canadian Cordillera, a mountain belt rich in minerals and coal. British Columbia’s mining industry is internationally recognized for its proficiency in mineral exploration and mine development, and is an important producer and exporter of copper, gold, silver, lead, zinc, molybdenum, coal and industrial minerals.

During 2009, the value of mineral production in British Columbia was $5.7 billion. Coal, which is mined in the northeastern and southeastern regions of BC, was valued at $3.3 billion.

Copper, which is mined in the BC interior and on Vancouver Island, had the highest shipment value followed by gold and silver.

Mineral Production—2009 (preliminary estimate)
Metals
Units
Shipment
$ Thousands
 Gold
Kilograms
7,666
269,552
 Silver
Tonnes
74
39,890
 Copper
Tonnes
210,077
1,213,405
 Lead
Tonnes
2,114
4,115
 Zinc
Tonnes
27,288
50,428
 Molybdenum
Tonnes
8,836
n/a
 Others
117
Total Metals 
1,828,375
Total Non Metals 
588,682
Fuel 
 Coal
Kilotonnes
21,450
3,316,510
Total Solid Minerals 
5,733,567
Source: Natural Resources Canada, Mineral Production

Oil and Gas Exploration in British Columbia

Approximately 32,400 kilometres of gas-gathering and transmission lines are provincially regulated. Gas is processed at 47 plants and central dehydrators in northeast British Columbia, many of which recover sulphur and liquid by-products.

Oil and Gas - 2009 (preliminary)
Units
Shipments
$Millions
Oil
m3
1,282,119
719
Natural Gas
m3
32,049,744
3,294
By-products (no sulphur)
m3
651,981
105
Gas by-product (sulphur)
879
10
Source: Ministry of Energy Mines, and Petroleum Resources

Facts on mining in British Columbia and what impact it has on the BC economy
Since 2001, a total of 12 metal and coal mines have opened or reopened in B.C.
B.C's forecast of solid mineral production is $5.7 billion in 2009 and is dominated by coal and copper, which account for 72 per cent of the total value.
Exploration expenditures were nearly $154 million in 2009, the sixth highest level in 20 years.
There are 24 mine development projects under B.C. environmental review and seven in the mines act permit process.
The number of significant exploration projects in the province in 2009 was 88 - 75 metallic, six coal and seven industrial mineral.
The number of exploration projects with budgets in excess of $1 million was 98 in 2008, carried out by 770 publicly listed B.C. companies.
Sixty per cent of Canadian exploration companies are based in B.C., raising $2.9 billion in equity capital (about 40 per cent of the total equity capital for Canadian-listed exploration companies.)
There are more than 30 industrial minerals mines and hundreds of sand and gravel quarries providing employment to B.C. workers. B.C. has nine coal mines and eight metal mines in operation.
Eight mines opened or re-opened in the last five years.
Minerals economy employs 28,000 people in the mining and minerals sectors in more than 50 B.C. communities: about 14,000 directly and several thousand additional jobs in the service sector that rely on exploration and the mining industry.
Each British Columbian requires an average of 12 tonnes of aggregate per capita per year for housing, roads, schools, shopping centres, hospitals and libraries.

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