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Mining Month 2023

May is Mining Month, a time to celebrate and salute the important contributions BC mining makes to communities throughout the province and highlight the growing significance of critical minerals.

British Columbia’s mining sector is a world leading supplier of the critical minerals essential to clean technologies that help fight climate change – like electric vehicles. Mining Month provides the perfect opportunity to showcase how British Columbia’s critical minerals and metals are essential to climate action.

Mining Month will also feature the significant economic benefits they offer British Columbians, while enabling economic reconciliation with Indigenous communities.

Join us in celebrating Mining Month and discover British Columbia’s mining and critical mineral potential. Together, we can drive positive change, foster economic growth and create a lasting legacy of responsible mining for generations to come.

The opportunity is right under our feet.

Mining Month 2023 Events

Every year, BC’s mining sector and communities across the province host events to celebrate mining and share with British Columbian’s the important role minerals and metals play in our daily lives.

For more information about MABC and mining community events taking place during Mining Month, visit our events page.

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Stay in informed, sign up for MABC’s e-newsletter. Our quarterly newsletter includes industry updates, mining news, editorials and more.

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What Are Critical Minerals

Certain minerals are so essential to our climate objectives, economic and national security, they have been designated as “critical minerals” by governments around the world, including Canada.

These minerals are indispensable to clean technologies and the transition to a low-carbon future, as well as aerospace, defence and communications technologies.

Fortunately, British Columbia is home to many of the minerals on Canada’s critical mineral list, including aluminum, cadmium, chromium, copper, nickel, silver, zinc and a host of others.

All of these critical minerals are vital to achieving a net-zero economy by 2050.

Why Critical Minerals Matter

Critical minerals—notably copper, nickel, lithium and cobalt—are the building blocks of the net-zero future and essential to aerospace, defence, and communications technologies.

China is currently the dominant global refiner of critical minerals, and the world’s largest producer of EV batteries and clean technologies like solar cells.

Western governments recognize that dependence on countries governed by authoritarian regimes for critical mineral supplies is a strategic vulnerability. That’s why countries like Canada, the U.S. and others are working independently and in partnership to build up their own critical mineral supply chains.

In Canada, the federal government has launched the Canadian Critical Mineral Strategy to capitalize on the rising demand for critical minerals, which could grow from four to six times by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency.

Critical minerals from BC and across the country are the crucial ingredient in new EV battery plants like St. Thomas Battery Cell Gigafactory in Ontario.

The world needs our responsibly produced critical minerals for the energy transition and the time to make that happen is now.

British Columbians are Onside with Critical Minerals

According to a recent public survey, three quarters of British Columbians would like to see the province become a world leader in supplying critical minerals essential to clean technologies and fighting climate change.

In fact, across all regions of British Columbia, all demographics and across the political spectrum, there is an understanding that critical minerals have an essential role to play in helping us reach our climate goals.

This strong level of public support aligns with the growing recognition of critical minerals as strategic assets that are the essential building blocks of a low carbon future.

BC’s Critical Mineral Potential

Canada has a critical minerals list with 31 minerals, many of which are found or produced in British Columbia, with considerable untapped potential.

British Columbia currently hosts seven near-term copper, gold and steelmaking coal mines or mine extension projects that will reach their final investment decisions in the next 18 months.

Together, they represent more than $4 billion in capital expenditures, 6,400 new construction and operating jobs, Indigenous partnerships and an economic impact topping $10 billion.

There is a second queue of 11 other medium-term advanced critical mineral projects that will produce copper and copper-gold, and copper-zinc-silver.  These projects also include the world’s largest unmined niobium deposit and two of the world’s largest nickel deposits, which offer value-added refining and processing opportunities for BC and a significant source of battery-grade nickel sulphate for Canada’s emerging battery and electric vehicle sectors.

While providing Canada and our allies with responsibly produced critical minerals, these projects can deliver new high paying jobs, more prosperous communities, new revenues for government and economic reconciliation within Indigenous communities.

Action is Needed to Realize British Columbia’s Critical Minerals Potential

To fully realize British Columbia’s critical minerals potential the provincial and federal governments must work together and make progress on a number of important measures, including:

  • Reducing lengthy permitting processes that are a long-standing challenge for BC mining, without reducing environmental protection.
  • Providing the financial resources to ensure Indigenous nations have the governance, administrative and technical capacity to participate on an equitable footing in shared decision making and major mine reviews, while supporting Indigenous co-ownership and equity participation in critical mineral projects.
  • Expanding BC’s electrical grid to support and electrify mine extensions and new mines and advance decarbonization so BC’s mines and smelters will continue to have among the lowest emissions in the world.