Opinion: Province is Canada’s largest producer of copper, largest exporter of coal, only producer of molybdenum
By Karina Brino
From the family fair in Princeton, to the Hudson Bay Lodge luncheon in Smithers, and the fundraising event for BC Children’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver, it was another successful BC Mining Week across the province.
As the president and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia, I had the privilege of attending a number of BC Mining Week events (April 28 to May 4) in towns and cities across the province, celebrating with communities the spirit and achievements of the province’s mining industry.
B.C.’s mining sector has much to be proud of. People who work in and with the industry do so with the satisfaction that they are making a difference in people’s lives, both in the province and around the world. As Canada’s largest producer of copper, its largest exporter of coal and its only producer of molybdenum, B.C.’s mining industry helps to provide the global community with a number of well-used and necessary products — from cars and cellphones to power lines and medical equipment.
Mining also creates wealth and opportunity at home here in B.C., through investment and job creation. In 2012, the industry generated $9.2 billion in revenues and directly employed more than 10,400 people. B.C.’s mining industry also made payments to government of $504 million, money that is then used to help fund hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and other public services that people across the province depend on daily.
B.C.’s mining industry also helps to build and sustain thriving communities from Terrace in the northwest to Trail in the southeast and, of course, in B.C.’s largest city, Vancouver. In fact, Vancouver is one of the biggest beneficiaries of mining in the province, both directly and indirectly.
Think about it: Even if you don’t work at one of the 800 mineral exploration, development or mining companies located in Vancouver, chances are that you know someone who does. Or, you likely know someone who is indirectly employed by the sector in related industries such as engineering, construction, consulting, IT, legal and financial services. Those thousands of people directly or indirectly employed by the mining industry in Vancouver support other segments of the local economy by shopping at local retailers, eating in local restaurants, working out in local gyms and buying cars at local dealerships.
Vancouver-based mining companies also make significant financial contributions to local charities, hospitals and non-profit organizations to help people in need, promote culture and support learning and development.
It is also important to note that the mining industry has made significant strides to demonstrate its commitment to responsible development and tremendous progress has been made in improving and managing mining’s environmental footprint.
And, what is too often forgotten is that the individuals who work in and around the mining business, including the hundreds here in Vancouver, share society’s interest that mining operations are conducted responsibly. The industry works to create shared value with all stakeholders, which means creating economic opportunities while at the same time respecting community interests, protecting the environment and ensuring the health and safety of employees and the public.
In fact, B.C.’s mining industry is seen as global leader in many of these areas. For instance, B.C. mining companies have become models for other countries when it comes to establishing relationships and partnerships with First Nation communities.
On health and safety, B.C.’s mining industry is considered the safest heavy industry in the province, with fewer accidents and fatalities than any other resource sector.
B.C.-based companies have also made tremendous progress to improve and manage the environmental impact of their operations. In 2011, B.C. became the first province in Canada to adopt the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining initiative that governs site-specific activities of companies at each stage of the mining cycle, in particular around environmental management.
Mining matters to every single one of us in B.C. It’s important that we remember just how much of an impact it has on sustaining the lifestyles we enjoy in this province, including the highest population of people living right here in Vancouver.
Karina Briño is the president and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia.
Full article available here: The Vancouver Sun