Coal has been getting a bad rap in B.C. lately, but exports of B.C. coal – used mostly for making steel – generates $3.2 billion in gross domestic product for B.C. and employs 26,000 people, according to a new study commissioned by Coal Association of Canada.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers report calculated the GDP from coal extraction and exports in 2011generated $715.2 million in tax revenue for all levels of government – including $399 million in taxes from economic activity – and $316.2 million in mineral tax payments to British Columbia.
Direct mining activity generated $2.2 billion in B.C. in 2011, the report found, with another $1 billion coming from related activity. Combined, the industry generates $1.7 million in wages.
“Coal is essential to British Columbia as a catalyst for economic development, international trade, investment in regional communities and the employment of thousands of British Columbians,” said Ann Marie Hann, president of the Coal Association of Canada.
“With 12 billion tonnes of potentially mineable resources, coal can help ensure that B.C.’s economy remains strong for years to come.”
The report appears to be part of a public relations defence being launched in response to public opposition to planned expansions of terminals in Vancouver.
Just two days before the report was released, Business in Vancouver reported Port Metro Vancouver had issued a request for proposals for a public relations strategist.
The port has come under fire for approving an expansion of the Neptune Terminals last month to handle increased coal exports.
Port Metro Vancouver told Business in Vancouver that its public relations RFP “has been in the works for several months” and is not connected to the controversy over the coal-handling expansion project.