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BC Mine 2020

A new agenda for transformation and sustainable growth

At a glance

  • BC miners successfully navigated a difficult period in 2020, with companies quickly adapting their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • There are signs of optimism for 2021, with prices for key commodities like gold renewing BC miners’ focus on growth.

     

  • After pivoting so quickly in 2020, BC miners have a fresh opportunity to further accelerate change, transformation and progress on critical priorities like ESG matters.

Preparing for an exciting future for BC miners

To say 2020 was an unprecedented year is an understatement. But while commodity prices fell in the wake of the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic and many BC miners curtailed their operations at the start of the crisis, conditions quickly improved. With their long history of developing strong health and safety protocols, mining companies were able to work successfully with governments and health officials to adapt their mine sites so they could continue operating. Prices for many commodities began to recover in anticipation of an eventual global economic rebound, with gold showing particular strength during much of the year. 

With miners having successfully navigated a difficult period in 2020, we see signs of optimism for the rest of 2021. According to our 2021 CEO Survey, 82% of global chief executive officers in the mining industry think economic growth will improve over the next 12 months. This has many mining executives planning for future growth. According to the survey, 72% are planning to pursue organic growth activities in the next 12 months.

This year’s report builds on that spirit of growth and optimism to explore what a new agenda for BC miners can look like. After proving how adaptable and resilient they can be during a disruptive event like a pandemic, now is the time to further accelerate change, transformation and progress on critical priorities like sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters. To help miners do this, we outline concrete actions they can take to prepare for the exciting future that’s to come.

%

of global chief executive officers in the mining industry think economic growth will improve over the next 12 months

PwC's 2021 CEO Survey

“BC miners successfully navigated a challenging environment in 2020, with many looking at 2021 with optimism. At this pivotal moment, the industry is ready to embrace further change as it prepares for new opportunities in the months and years to come.”

Mark Patterson, BC Mining Leader, PwC Canada

Financial results for BC mining companies

Despite the optimistic outlook for many mining companies, BC miners reported a mixed financial picture for 2020 as overall revenues fell from 2019. This was due, in large part, to lower prices and sales for metallurgical coal combined with production curtailments due to the pandemic. Higher prices for gold, silver and copper in the second half of the year helped offset the declines to some extent.

The outlook for metals and minerals has continued to improve this year, with spot prices for key BC metals and minerals as of March 31, 2021, either up from or in line with their 2020 averages. The 2021 consensus forecast for metals and minerals also suggests a positive outlook compared to 2020.

Despite lower revenues, BC miners continued to invest in 2020, with capital expenditures in line with 2019 spending of $1.6 billion. The industry continues to be a significant source of employment and creator of jobs in British Columbia. In 2020, there were 11,738 direct jobs at the companies that participated in this year’s survey. 

 

 

Net revenue by product 2020 (%)

Direct employment


2020 employees
2019 employees
2018 employees
2017 employees
2016 employees

Perspectives on the future of BC mining companies

How can BC miners accelerate progress on climate change and other ESG matters?

Explore insights from PwC Canada’s Mike Harris and Sarah Marsh on the path to carbon neutrality and net-zero emissions for BC miners.

Learn more

The road to value creation for BC miners

Many BC miners are taking a fresh look at mergers and acquisitions (M&A) amid the renewed focus on growth. Explore insights from PwC Canada’s Michelle Grant and Lauren Bermack on how miners can make the most of new growth opportunities while avoiding the mistakes of previous M&A sprees.

Learn more

Viewpoints from across the mining ecosystem

Download our full report for features including:

  • A perspective on ESG matters in the mining industry from BMO Global Asset Management’s Philip Harrington and Jennifer So
  • An interview with the Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre’s Jeanette Jackson exploring the clean technology industry’s view on advancing low-carbon solutions for the mining industry
  • A conversation with Christian Milau, CEO of Equinox Gold, about his company’s approach to growth and M&A
  • New Gold’s story of successfully navigating COVID-19 at the New Afton mine
  • Insights from the Mining Association of British Columbia’s Michael Goehring on the outlook for BC mining companies and how accelerating innovation can help the industry pave the way to a prosperous future

Get the report in your inbox

1 The views and opinions expressed by third parties are those of the authors for which PwC Canada takes no responsibility and disclaims all liability, and the above disclaimer applies to any such third-party comments.  

Turning the momentum for change into long-term strategies for BC miners

The last year brought a mix of significant challenges, new opportunities and renewed energy for change to BC miners. Companies successfully navigated a very difficult period while making changes to the ways they do business on a scale and at a pace many never thought possible. The challenge now is to continue building on their successes and momentum for change by embracing fresh opportunities to accelerate transformation and growth.

We know many mining companies are optimistic about growth prospects­, which should give them the confidence to continue investing in change and transformation. But confidence doesn’t equal strategy, making it important for mining companies to decide how they’ll best position themselves for the future.

So what are some of the key elements of a new agenda for transformation and sustainable growth? We suggest three actions for BC miners to consider:

%

of global chief executive officers in the mining industry are planning to pursue organic growth activities in the next 12 months

PwC's 2021 CEO Survey

BC miners have a great story to tell their stakeholders, including investors.

Collaboration can help BC miners build on priorities like ESG performance.

BC miners need to be strategic in the actions they take and the investments they make.

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Contact us

Mark Patterson

Mark Patterson

BC Mining Leader, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 604 806 7160

Michelle Grant

Michelle Grant

National Deals Leader for Energy, Utilities, Mining and Industrials, Partner, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 604 806 7780 ext 7184

Lauren Bermack

Lauren Bermack

National Deals Mining Leader, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 815 5323

Mike Harris

Mike Harris

Partner, Risk Assurance Services, PwC Canada Board Chair, ESG Practice and Net Zero Leader, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 604 806 7711

Sarah Marsh

Sarah Marsh

Partner, National ESG Report and Assurance Leader, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 604 806 7123

Kevin Chan

Kevin Chan

National Mining Leader, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 941 8321

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