For Immediate Release
October 16, 2020
Mining Association calls for changes to carbon tax to support the environment and jobs and help the provincial economy recover
VANCOUVER, BC – The Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC) is calling for greater support for workers and mining communities in British Columbia. In a paper released today, MABC is advocating for changes to strengthen the competitiveness of BC’s mining sector. Specifically, adjusting BC’s carbon tax so mines and smelters here are provided the same support as those in other Canadian provinces and territories.
“We need a carbon tax that protects both the environment and jobs. The reality is we can have both,” said Michael Goehring, President and CEO. “While BC is a leader in climate action, all our competitors either have no carbon tax or protect their mining sectors from the impacts of carbon pricing. This adversely impacts our ability to compete and succeed globally, hurting workers and mining communities.”
In 2019, the BC Mining Jobs Task Force delivered a report to government containing 25 recommendations to support mining and to create and sustain mining jobs for workers across the province. The report identified the carbon tax as the single greatest barrier to helping the industry succeed and compete in the global market.
Currently, 46 national and 32 subnational jurisdictions have a price on carbon and BC’s carbon tax is among the highest in the world. All jurisdictions with carbon pricing, except BC, provide meaningful support for their mining industries.
Today, COVID’s impact has left our province struggling. There are a number of mine expansions and new mines under consideration in British Columbia, but they are not guaranteed. Leveling the playing field for BC mining will encourage positive final investment decisions and provide an important opportunity to help the provincial economy recover and grow.
Further, nine BC mines are expected to reach the end of their productive life and close, leaving only five operating mines in 2040, if no new projects advance. Industry contraction will mean lower employment, fewer economic benefits for communities and reduced revenues to government for public services.
“BC mining can help our province’s economic recovery and help fight global climate change. BC has among the lowest GHG emissions minerals and metals in the world, which are the essential building blocks of clean and renewable energy technologies, like low emission vehicles and solar panels,” added Goehring.
MABC engaged Ed Mansfield, of Mansfield Consulting Inc., to analyze carbon taxation on mining in British Columbia and competing jurisdictions. Mansfield found that BC mining is at a significant competitive disadvantage, relative to all competitors because they either do not price carbon, or they protect their mining industries and workers from increased costs due to carbon pricing and policies. Mansfield reviewed BC’s aluminum, copper and steelmaking coal against our competition, including the United States, Australia, Chile, Russia and the Middle East. He relied on third party verified data from a joint research initiative of the BC Government and the Business Council of British Columbia.
Mansfield’s report concluded that a jurisdiction with a high carbon tax, with no protection for a trade exposed industry like mining, may lead to a shift in economic activity to a jurisdiction with lower carbon costs but higher GHG emissions, which is referred to as carbon leakage.
Along with the change to the carbon tax, MABC is seeking improvements to the regulatory framework for mining. While BC has some of the highest regulatory standards in the world, the Mining Jobs Task Force identified the need to improve its clarity and predictability. In doing so, British Columbia can have a world-leading regulatory regime that fosters innovation and environmental protection and supports jobs and economic growth.
As the World Bank recently concluded on October 13, 2020, in order to meet the Paris Agreement targets, ambitious climate action will require a large-scale transition to clean energy which will drive significant demand for minerals. This presents British Columbia with a significant opportunity to be a leading supplier of responsibly produced, low-carbon minerals and metals to help the world transition to a low carbon economy.
“Adjusting the carbon tax does not put at risk our ability to meet our provincial GHG targets. Nor will it necessarily lead to higher GHGs from the mining sector,” added Goehring. “It will create a level playing field for BC mines with our competitors in Ontario, Quebec and the territories, while also continuing to incent emissions reductions.”
MABC’s paper, BC Mining and the Carbon Tax, and Dr. Mansfield’s report, BC Mining and Carbon Pricing, are available at: https://mining.bc.ca/carbontax.
About the Mining Association of British Columbia:
MABC is the voice of mining in British Columbia, representing operating steelmaking coal, metal and industrial mineral producers, as well as smelting operations and advanced development companies in the province. Our mandate is to encourage the safe, responsible development and operation of mining and related facilities across British Columbia. MABC’s members include some of this province’s most iconic operating companies. In 2018, the mining industry generated $12.3 billion in economic activity and supported over 33,000 direct and indirect jobs in BC. The sector contributed $953 million in payments to the provincial government last year, not including corporate income tax and other employment related taxes.
For more information:
Alex McMillan, Senior Public Affairs Advisor
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