Mining generates $3 billion in business for suppliers

New study shows 3,700 businesses supply goods and services to the mining sector in B.C.

Mining doesn't just employ miners – it supports a lot of jobs in the goods and service sectors as well.

If you live in Chetwynd or Tumbler Ridge, you are probably attuned to just how important mining is to B.C.’s economy.

After all, three metallurgical coal mines operating in the region are a major employer for those communities.

The importance of mining to the rest of B.C.’s economy is not as well understood. But a new study has now put a number to mining’s spinoff impacts for other businesses throughout the province.

There are 17 operating mines and two smelters in B.C. that generate more than $12 billion in economic activity, according to a new study by the Mining Association of BC (MABC) and Mining Suppliers Association of BC (MSABC).

About one-third of that ($2.9 billion) went to more than 3,700 B.C. businesses providing goods and services to the mining sector.

In Vancouver alone, the spend is worth about $248 million, according to the study, released today, September 24, at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention.

Roughly $265 million of goods and services are spent with First Nations contractors and suppliers.

“The numbers show mining has become a major partner with Indigenous businesses and is helping advance economic reconciliation with BC’s Indigenous communities,” said MABC CEO Michael Goehring. “Our industry purchased $265 million worth of materials, goods and services from 120 Indigenous-affiliated suppliers in 2018.”

Mining supports a host of service industries, including legal, accounting, financing and engineering sectors.

“The supply chain involves thousands of talented local businesses who not only supply mines in B.C., they also export a growing array of goods and services to the global mining industry, having earned a reputation for quality and innovation the world over,” said MSABC CEO Alec Morrison.

“Mines in the U.S., South America and elsewhere are using supplies and services made in B.C., supporting local jobs and businesses throughout the province.”