Elk Valley mines a $1-billion contributor to the provincial economy

The Elk Valley steelmaking coal mines in southeastern British Columbia are a major economic driver in the province, says an independent economic study from Resource Works.


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BC’s Elk Valley: Steelmaking Coal Centre A Significant Economic Driver Across the Province

An economic impact report shows extensive economic and social benefits of a single regional cluster of resource operations: Teck’s mining operations in BC’s Elk Valley for steelmaking coal.

The report from the Resource Works Society looks at what is spent on payroll and other expenditures both locally and further afield, illustrating how important this cluster of operations, and the overall steelmaking coal industry, is to the local and provincial economy. Findings include:

  • Operational spending on goods and services exceeded $1 billion
  • Jobs were provided for 3,673 workers at Elk Valley steelmaking coal mines and an additional 320 supporting coal operations at other Teck locations throughout BC.
  • Total estimated direct wages in 2014 amounted to $457.6 million
  • 345 full-time jobs were generated by just six of the company's key suppliers, with a total added payroll of $34.5 million last year

Steelmaking coal benchmark prices remain down from their highs of 2011, although 2016 did bring a Lazarus-like resurrection and then a retreat. Despite the challenges, the sector remains very important to the economic well-being of British Columbia. 

The findings show that almost 60 per cent of Teck's spending flowed to the Mainland Southwest Development Region, in particular the BC Lower Mainland.

Stewart Muir, executive director of Resource Works, said:  “This underscores the strong economic connections between a typical resource company and the array of professional service providers throughout British Columbia, many of whom are established in the Lower Mainland. Any balanced conversation on resource development must consider these remarkable economic facts.”

Resource Works selected the Elk Valley operations for several reasons: The five operating steelmaking coal mines are in close proximity and, given their comparatively remote location, they have a clearly defined regional labour market and a distinct cluster of supporting businesses.

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