By Staff Writer
Sixteen proposed critical mineral mines, representing $36 billion in near-term investment, 300,000 person-years of employment and $11 billion in tax revenues, are at a key juncture, based on findings of a new independent economic impact analysis conducted for the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC).
MABC is the voice of British Columbia’s steelmaking coal, metal, and mineral producers, smelters, and advanced development companies.
“The realization of benefits from these critical mineral projects is dependent on BC having competitive fiscal and regulatory policies that will attract the investment necessary to grow and sustain the sector. The provincial government’s forthcoming critical minerals strategy is fundamental to these efforts,” said Michael Goehring, President and CEO of MABC.
The study, which examined 14 potential critical mineral mines and two mine extensions, found the long-term economic impact of operating these mines over several decades could be nearly $800 billion.
Critical minerals are essential building blocks for clean technologies like solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles. According to the International Energy Agency, global demand for critical minerals is expected to increase six-fold by 2040.
“This is a generational opportunity which must be seized and could position BC as a leading global supplier of responsibly-produced critical minerals. We want to move forward with the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, First Nations, local governments, and labour, to unlock critical mineral developments for the benefit of all British Columbians,” said Goehring.
“The proposed critical mineral projects also create genuine opportunities for First Nations partnerships to advance economic reconciliation, prosperity, and self-determination,” Goehring said.
“Many First Nations, including the Williams Lake First Nation, know that mining can have massive economic benefits for British Columbia and for First Nations people. The potential development of critical minerals is worthy of consideration, if done right and with the input and involvement of First Nations on whose land the mineral resources are found. Economic reconciliation is about leveling the playing field, now is the opportunity to be a part of that together.” commented Chief Willie Sellers, Williams Lake First Nation.
The study also assessed the economic benefits resulting from advancing five proposed precious metal mines, including gold. The long-term combined impact of the proposed precious metals mines over their lifespan exceeds $29.5 billion, creating over 96,000 person-years of employment and generating $5.3 billion in tax revenue.
Scott Lunny, Director, United Steelworkers (USW), District 3, remarked, “British Columbia’s critical minerals hold great potential for our mining and smelting sector, and it is vital that government policies ensure the economic benefits and jobs are realized for the benefit of working families and communities around the province.”
“With the right government policy, these critical and precious mineral projects would further advance the mining and smelting sector’s foundational role in BC’s economy which includes well-paid family-supporting jobs and opportunities for service and supply businesses in both rural and urban communities,” added Goehring.
Our industry benefits all British Columbians, supporting more than 35,000 jobs and over 3,700 small, medium and First Nations businesses in every corner of the province through an annual spend of $3 billion. Our members’ products have among the lowest carbon footprints globally and are helping the world transition to a cleaner, low-carbon future; safely and responsibly.
“As the lead association for the mineral exploration and development industry based in BC, we see first-hand the vast potential that critical minerals have in our province. Now is the time to move forward to maximize the opportunities that critical minerals can provide,” said
Keerit Jutla, President and CEO, Association for Mineral Exploration.
MABC engaged Mansfield Consulting Inc. to assess the potential economic impact of proposed new critical mineral mines and extensions to existing critical mineral mines in BC. The study also evaluated the potential economic impact of proposed new precious metals mines in the province.
“At a time of growing economic uncertainty in the province, critical minerals can provide BC with a potential short and long-term economic boost and position the province to be a key player in the global critical minerals market. The province’s economic competitiveness is fundamental to that; and we hope the BC government does its part in creating a more positive investment environment,” said Laura Jones, President and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia.
Alec Morrison, President and CEO, Mining Suppliers Association of BC, noted, “This independent economic analysis clearly shows the vast potential that British Columbia has when it comes to the mining of critical minerals. The benefits that exist are potentially limitless and there are major pluses for the suppliers, contractors and businesses who serve BC’s mining industry in communities across the province.”
“When mining prospers, British Columbians prosper, said Fiona Famulak, President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce, “We urge the government to act boldly and quickly to attract investment to our province and see critical minerals mined here. The study shows the economic benefits of such action will be significant and will create the environment businesses, British Columbians and local communities need to thrive for generations to come. BC has an opportunity to be a global leader in the clean technology space. Let’s take it.”
“Mining is a province-wide industry, whose economic impact is felt throughout Metro Vancouver and beyond. The mining of critical minerals will stand to benefit the many businesses who work with the mining sector directly and indirectly. As well, critical minerals could serve as a catalyst to spur investments in new clean technologies that are needed as we move towards net zero by 2050,” stated Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.