All of B.C. relies on resource sectors – by Heather Oland (Vancouver Sun – April 19, 2013)

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1,200 mineral exploration companies are based in Vancouver. While their on-the-ground work is done across B.C., even worldwide, they spend heavily in the city’s economy

The economic growth that is being experienced in Prince George is not only reflected in the northern city’s very low unemployment rate, but also in the city’s steadily increasing housing starts, housing prices, units sold, building permits issued and air traffic volume.

It is being driven by the $70 billion in resource and resource related projects planned and underway in northern B.C. over the next decade. The resource-driven growth also strengthens the city’s fully diversified economy, everything from restaurants to retail to professional services. The growth in Prince George and northern B.C. is also being felt in Vancouver’s economy, as they are inextricably dependent on one another.

The mining sector is a good example of the symbiotic relationship between Vancouver and Prince George as mining is one of the critical drivers of the prosperity of the British Columbian economy.

According to the Mining Association of B.C., the gross revenues generated by the B.C. mining industry in 2011 amounted to $9.9 billion, a $2-billion increase from the year before. From that revenue, payments to the province amounted to $805 million, an increase of $114 million from the previous year. Those payments fund the budgets of the ministries of health, education, and environment among others.

MAB. C. calculates that the direct expenditures by the mining sector into the B.C. supply chain were $3 billion in 2011. When the indirect expenditures are also taken into account, the total of all of the economic activity that is connected to the B.C. mining sector in 2011 was in the order of $8.9 billion.

In addition to expenditures in the supply chain, 9,310 British Columbians were employed by the mining sector in 2011, up from 8,195 in 2010. Not only did employment increase but so did average earnings, up from $108,100 in 2010 to $115,700 in 2011.

In Vancouver, the investment by the mining sector has created a world-class centre of excellence with approximately 1,200 exploration companies operating from the city. Those companies commission all manner of supplies and services locally in order to operate successfully and have a significant, direct and indirect effect on the health of Vancouver’s economy.

Those companies are also, of course, dependent on the actual exploration activities that occur on the land base throughout B.C. In the northern part of the province, mining exploration expenditures have increased by an annual average of 26.4 per cent over the past five years and are up 67.8 per cent between 2011 and 2012 for a total expenditure of $557.8 million last year. In Prince George, employment in the mining sector has increased by an annual average of 31.5 per cent over the past five years.

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