British Columbia's $800 Billion Critical Minerals Opportunity

B.C. critical minerals 800 billion dollar mining opportunity

British Columbia’s vast wealth of mineral and metal resources, if further developed, could create thousands of jobs, generate billions in tax revenues, and see a long-term economic boost of nearly $800 billion, according to a new study by the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC) [1].

Critical Minerals Economic Impact Study – January 2024 evaluated the economic impact of 14 mines and two additional mine extensions for several critical minerals including gold, silver, copper, nickel, cobalt, molybdenum, zinc, niobium and rare earths. The results are remarkable.

Near-Term: Development & Construction

MABC’s analysis found the near-term economic impacts for the construction and development of all 16 projects were as follows.

  • $36.5 billion total investment
  • $79.9 billion economic output
  • $38.3 billion gross domestic product (GDP)
  • $23.6 billion in labour income
  • 302,000 person-years of employment
  • $10.9 billion in tax revenues

Each mining project would take more than three years to develop and create more than 19,000 person-years of employment, nearly $1.5 billion in labour income, and an average of $2.3 billion in capital investment while generating roughly $680 million in tax revenue.

Long-Term: Ongoing Operations

The long-term economic impact of developing all 16 mines in B.C. is profound, including:

  • $791.7 billion in economic activity
  • $398.3 billion in GDP
  • $183.8 billion in labour income
  • 2,155,000 person-years of employment
  • $154.5 billion in tax revenues

Over their life span of 24.1 years, each of the 16 critical mineral mines reviewed by the MABC would generate $24.8 billion in GDP, $9.6 billion in tax revenues for all levels of government, $11.5 billion in total labour income, about 135,000 person-years of employment.

Comparison of Critical Minerals & Other B.C. Industries

For context, the report also compared the potential near-term economic impact of the 16 mining projects in B.C. to other lucrative provincial industries and events, such as the film industry and the Olympic games.

comparing B.C. critical mineral mines to olympics and film industry

Long-term comparisons were also made to the wood product manufacturing, telecommunications, and residential development industries, showing that the potential short- and long-term economic impact of developing these 16 critical mines supersedes any and all by a long shot.

comparing B.C. critical mineral mines to olympics and film industry v2

Gold & Silver Economic Impacts

MABC’s study also assessed the projected economic impacts from five proposed metal mines which are to produce high-value minerals, primarily gold and silver. The long-term economic impacts of these projects include:

  • $29.5 billion in economic output
  • $18.3 billion in GDP
  • $8 billion in labour income
  • 96,065 person-years of employment
  • $5.3 billion in tax revenues

Canadians Can’t Afford to Miss B.C.’s Critical Mines Opportunity

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that, due to energy transformations occurring worldwide, mineral demand for cleantech manufacturing will grow two to six times by 2040 versus 2020 levels [2].

Already a global leader in responsible mining practices, British Columbia is well positioned to lead the way in developing critical mineral mines that will help supplement rapidly increasing global demand.  Today, the province is home to 10 metal mines, seven thermal coal mines, two smelters, many of the world’s top mining professionals and companies, and some of the lowest-emissions mineral, metal and metallurgical coal operations seen worldwide.

Will our governments and industry work together to unlock this enormous mining wealth for Canadians, balancing the need for responsible economic development and environmental protection – or will another incredible natural resource opportunity pass us by?

B.C.’s $800 billion mining opportunity is one that Canadians cannot afford to miss.


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