BC mining remains strong in 2013, adds new jobs

BC’s mining industry continues to grow and expand as new projects, construction starts and expansions drove job creation and investment throughout the mining industry in 2013.

The most important highlight of 2013 was the celebration of a new mine going into production in August. Mt. Milligan mine north of Prince George, a $1.5-billion project with 350 permanent jobs, shipped its first copper ore in late summer and celebrated its commissioning in October.

Additionally, a number of operating mines made improvements to their operations. Both Gibraltar mine in the Cariboo and Line Creek in the Kootenays received Mines Act permit amendments that resulted in almost $400 million in investment and ensured jobs for 650 workers.

Mine construction dominated industry progress in 2013 with a number of large projects well on their way to becoming producing mines. Red Chris mine in the Northeast is well on its way. The $500-million project is expected to start producing ore in 2014. Roman mine, near Tumbler Ridge, also started construction and the company is working toward production in 2014.

Both industry and the Province continue to work closely with First Nations on resource development, setting out clear expectations for the consultation process and working toward more revenue-sharing agreements. Mining employs more First Nations than any other industry in B.C.

The Province has signed 10 economic and community development agreements with First Nations to date. In 2013, the first cheques were delivered to First Nations for agreements with New Afton, Copper Mountain and Highland Valley mines.

Mining continues to be one of B.C.’s safest heavy industries and has a lower injury rate than most of the other resource and industrial sectors.

Since the BC Jobs Plan was released, two new mines are in operation, and five more are under construction or permitted. The Province also has approved seven major expansions of existing mines.