A new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shows that coal makes a significant contribution to the British Columbia economy through employment, tax revenue and contribution to provincial GDP. In 2011, the coal industry generated an estimated $3.2 billion in provincial GDP and approximately $715.2 million in tax revenue for all levels of government including $399 million in tax revenue generated by economic activity and $316.2 million in mineral tax payments to British Columbia.
"Coal is essential to British Columbia as a catalyst for economic development, international trade, investment in regional communities and the employment of thousands of British Columbians," said Ann Marie Hann, President of the Coal Association of Canada. "With 12 billion tonnes of potentially mineable resources, coal can help ensure that B.C.'s economy remains strong for years to come."
The report, Economic impact analysis of the coal mining industry in British Columbia, notes that the majority of coal produced in British Columbia is metallurgical (steel-making) coal, an essential material for modern living. Of the 10 producing coal mines in the province, 9 produce metallurgical coal and one produces thermal coal. Canada is the third largest exporter of metallurgical coal in the world (after Australia and the United States) shipping most of the 27 million tonnes of metallurgical and thermal coal produced every year in B.C.
"PwC's research showed coal exports from British Columbia totaled $7.1 billion in 2011, which was about 22% of the total dollar value of exports from the province," said report author Janice Plumstead, Director, Economics and Statistics at PwC. "Coal shipments were up by 10% to 24.5 million tonnes in 2011 compared to 2010, and higher coal prices pushed export revenues up by an impressive 35%."
The coal industry also makes an important contribution to provincial employment supporting over 26,000 jobs in 2011. Many of those who work in the industry are highly skilled individuals, such as geologists, mine engineers and skilled tradespeople, who earn higher than average wages. The estimated average annual wage for those directly employed by coal companies was $95,174, twice the average provincial wage of $43,500.
The B.C. report comes on the heels of a national report produced by PwC called Economic impact analysis of the coal mining industry in Canada, released in late 2012. PwC surveyed coal companies across Canada to determine the scope of their mining activities as well as their operating and capital expenditures, salaries and employment information, research and development spending and coal shipments. This information, along with data from Natural Resources Canada and Statistics Canada, resulted in a unique picture of the coal industry's contribution to the Canadian and B.C. economies.