A call to action

BC Mine 2022

Shaping the future of BC mining 

Author: Mark Patterson, BC Mining Leader, PwC Canada

We continue to be optimistic about the future of mining in British Columbia in the face of urgent demand for the critical minerals needed to drive global carbon reduction. For the province to fully benefit from this enormous opportunity, it will need to attract investment to discover, develop and operate projects.

Recent mergers and acquisitions in the province represent a vote of confidence by outside investors. To build on this success, miners, governments, local communities and other groups will need to co-operate and move quickly to make sure there’s a clear path forward for projects—from identification of deposits to development—within a reasonable period of time.

British Columbia’s good fortunes extend beyond its natural resources. Rising geopolitical volatility is creating strong interest in the North American supply chain, seen globally as relatively stable and secure, and this will benefit miners in British Columbia and the rest of Canada in terms of development.

Cash flow from operations increased 58% for survey respondents in 2022 vs. 2021

The cash flow results are driven mainly by rising metallurgical coal revenue owing to increased metallurgical coal prices.

Additionally, the industry in British Columbia is already proving it can operate mines in a more sustainable way than those in many other countries, partly owing to the province’s hydroelectric infrastructure and early investments by some mining companies in electrification of parts of their operations. As investors and consumers continue to demand that companies boost their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance, BC mines have a chance to further differentiate themselves from those in other jurisdictions that have critical minerals and are competing for foreign investment.

We’re seeing positive steps and engagement from government to support the development of British Columbia’s critical mineral industry. This includes directives to further build out electrical infrastructure and funding support through its CleanBC plan for companies piloting projects for zero-emission vehicles and charging stations.

Additional government efforts will be needed to build the infrastructure to help get critical minerals from mines to market, and this will, in part, be funded by tax revenues and other payments to governments. Equally important, the provincial government will hopefully follow suit with federal policies designed to support the critical mineral strategy and bolster the Canadian mining industry’s global competitiveness.

BC miners continue to play a leadership role working alongside Indigenous leaders to bring projects to life. They fully understand that without the support of local communities, their projects will not move forward. Looking ahead, the government will need to help Indigenous communities get the administrative resources they need to have equal footing at the negotiating table, as well as complete a neutral framework for how engagement between industry and communities should work.

British Columbia’s mining industry is well positioned today to break old patterns and attract young workers to the sector. It has a new and clear story to tell that links the mining of copper, nickel and other minerals with carbon reduction and transitioning the world to a greener economy. We’re only in the early chapters of the narrative, and to shape the outcome, the industry, governments and other groups will need to move quickly.

“Pressure continues to build for businesses to disclose more about the taxes they pay and their tax planning. Broadening tax disclosures beyond corporate taxes will allow corporations to tell a more holistic story about their contributions to local communities, thereby building trust. Building tax governance and reporting into an ESG strategy creates a stronger link between governance and transparency.”

Brooke Ko, National Mining Leadership Team, PwC Canada

A year in numbers

Financial data for the 55th BC Mine annual report derives from PwC’s survey of fourteen operating mines and nine organizations that had projects in exploration or development.

34% increase to $16.6 billion in revenue for survey participants in 2022 vs. 2021

Driven by a rise of 70% in realized metallurgical coal prices by the largest coal producer in BC in 2022, which followed an 85% jump a year earlier. This was partially offset by overall reduced volumes shipped for all commodities in 2022 compared to 2021.

Inflationary pressures contributed to a 18% increase in operating costs and other expenses

Overall volumes shipped decreased (18%, 16% and 2% for copper, gold and coal volumes, respectively)

Capital expenditure totalled $2.0 billion, a 4% increase from 2022 vs. 2021

Exploration and development stage companies drove the increase, thanks in part to the advancement  of three major gold projects. However,operating mines decreased capex spending by 8%.

58% increase in payments to governments from 2022 vs. 2021

Strong metallurgical coal prices in 2022, BC’s largest commodity, were responsible

Critical minerals account for $4 billion in revenue of BC

These critical minerals (copper, zinc and molybdenum) are part of the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy as presented by Natural Resources Canada.

Metallurgical coal accounts for 65% of BC's net mining revenue, up from 47% in 2021

Metallurgical coal operations in the province saw overall revenues increase by 84% year over year driven by a 70% increase in averaged realized coal prices.

21% decrease in exploration & development expenditure from 2022 vs. 2021

Activity was in pursuit of exploration and development targets throughout the province and continued exploration at operating mine sites.

Four-year financial summary

(CA$ millions, except where otherwise noted)

(Swipe table to the left to view all content)






Net mining revenue





Net income (pre-tax)





Net income as a % of revenue (after-tax) 27% 31% -8% 12%

Cash flow from operations





Payments to governments2





Exploration and development expenditure





Capital expenditure





Revenue of commodity by %

Direct employment: Number of mining employees

Average market prices and forecasts3





Coal (US$/tonne)




Copper (US$/lb)




Gold (US$/oz)




Avg. FX rate




¹ Net mining revenues are reported after deduction of smelting and refining charges, freight costs and marketing.
² Includes direct taxes, other levies and payments related to employment.
³ Forecast from CIBC Global Mining Group Analyst Consensus Commodity Price Forecasts as of June 3, 2023, and FX rates from the Bank of Canada.

Industry spotlight featuring President and CEO of the Mining Association of BC, Michael Goehring

A definitive moment for BC mining

Global demand for critical minerals presents enormous opportunity for the BC mining industry, but there’s a limited period during which to capitalize.

Now is the time for strong and visionary leadership, as foreign investors consider the merits of Canada as a secure and stable supplier over other markets with critical minerals. Miners will need to work closely with the provincial and federal governments to streamline and expedite permitting and authorization processes, as well as to ensure Indigenous nations have the administrative and financial resources needed to secure ownership stakes in projects within their communities.

To continue the conversation, please reach out to us today.

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Mark Patterson

Mark Patterson

BC Mining Leader, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 604 806 7160

Monica Banting

Monica Banting

National Mining Leader, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 941 8233

Brooke Ko

Brooke Ko

National Mining Leadership Team, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 604 806 7798

Lauren Bermack

Lauren Bermack

National Deals Mining Leader, Partner, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 815 5323