Mining and the Low Carbon Economy

  • Mining is one of British Columbia’s largest primary industries.
  • In 2016, mining companies contributed $8.7 billion to the BC economy and $650 million in direct payments to government.
  • The mining industry directly and indirectly employs over 30,000 British Columbians. Across BC, in both rural and urban areas, 9,329 jobs were directly supported by mining in 2016.
  • British Columbia mining companies are among the lowest GHG emission-intensity miners in the world.
  • Growth in clean energy is driving significant demand for the metals and mineral products used to manufacture technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, LED lighting and electric cars.
  • As the largest copper producer in Canada, BC mines can play a key role in providing essential ingredients in the clean energy transition (electric cars require four times as much copper as internal combustion engines).
  • Mines and smelters in British Columbia sell their products in world markets, at globally established prices.  This market design makes mining and smelting operations unable to pass on additional costs to their customers.  
  • Increasing the carbon tax – which the majority of worldwide mining competitors do not pay – will continue to erode the competitiveness of BC industry and result in investment and carbon leakage.
  • Well-designed carbon pricing policies result in cost-effective GHG emissions reductions while guarding against leakage.  
  • By balancing incentivizing emissions reductions, and working to maintain the competitiveness of EITE industries, it is possible to maintain economic competitiveness and incent carbon reduction.  
  • An output based carbon tax that is built on principles that include a recognition of the differences in carbon pricing stringency, transparency, consistency, flexibility, incentives to reduce emissions; empirical validation and simplicity - will safeguard the competitiveness of EITE sectors and reduce carbon leakage risks, while maintaining the incentive to reduce emissions.