9 Factors Sparking the Future of Mining in British Columbia
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9 Factors Sparking the Future of Mining and Mineral Exploration in British Columbia

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The following content is sponsored by BCRMA

Future of mining in British Columbia

9 Factors Sparking the Future of Mining in British Columbia

Jurisdictions are an important factor in building a successful mineral exploration project.

In Canada, British Columbia (B.C.) is building a brighter future for mining and mineral exploration.

This infographic from our sponsor B.C. Regional Mining Alliance (BCRMA) details nine factors that make the province the right jurisdiction for mining.

#1: A Strong Mining Ecosystem

B.C. has a long history of mining that has produced a wealth of global industry experts. Today, the region is bustling with exploration activity and has:

  • 326 active exploration projects
  • $660 million in 2021 exploration spending
  • Over 1.4 million meters of exploration drilling in 2021
  • 17 operating metal and coal mines

In addition, the province also offers comprehensive geological data, research from leading institutions, and over 3,700 mining supply companies.

#2: Geological Potential

B.C.’s mining ecosystem is built on its robust history and immense geological potential. In 2020, the province produced a diverse range of commodities, including gold, silver, copper, and other base and industrial metals.

Mineral2021 Production Value (billions)% of Total Value
Steelmaking coal$6.3B49.7%
Copper$3.7B29.3%
Gold$1.5B12.1%
Construction aggregates$0.5B3.6%
Industrial minerals$0.4B3.4%
Other$0.2B1.9%
Total$12.6B100.0%

B.C. is Canada’s only producer of molybdenum, used in metallurgy and chemical applications, in addition to being Canada’s leading producer of copper and steelmaking coal.

The province’s Golden Triangle located in the northwestern region contains some of the most important gold deposits in Canada, endowed with minerals worth more than $800 billion.

#3: Effective Regulations

B.C.’s stable, transparent, and effective policy environment makes it straightforward to turn mineral endowment into mineral production.

The province ranked as the world’s least-risky jurisdiction for mining in 2017 and 2018, with its collaborative authorization across government departments reducing timelines for mineral operators and explorers.

Furthermore, B.C. uses a standardized mine approval process for all companies—local, national, or international.

#4: Lasting Indigenous Partnerships

Supportive Indigenous communities facilitate exploration and mining efforts in B.C., and in turn, mining accounts for over two-thirds of all indigenous people employed in the extractives sector.

In 2018, 120 Indigenous-affiliated businesses exchanged $265 million worth of goods and services with B.C.’s 17 operating mines. Furthermore, B.C. was Canada’s first province to share mineral tax revenue with First Nations, with over $130 million shared with communities to date.

#5: Infrastructure for Mining

B.C. offers an infrastructure that supports and enhances exploration and mining, including:

  • A $700M high-voltage transmission line
  • Upgraded highways
  • Hydroelectric power facilities
  • Upgraded ocean port infrastructure

#6: Mining’s Impact on Local Economies

The mining industry is key to B.C.’s economy as its benefits reach all 203 local communities in the province.

In 2020, B.C.’s mining industry generated $9.5 billion in gross revenue and contributed $382 million to government revenues, employing 11,378 people.

#7: Choice Destination for Responsibly Sourced Metals and Minerals

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors are becoming increasingly important for investors while selecting where to invest.

B.C. offers the opportunity to invest in a globally recognized jurisdiction where raw materials are produced in line with ESG standards due to progressive climate policies, strict environmental regulations, a skilled labor force, and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

#8: Abundance of Critical Minerals and Metals

B.C.’s mining industry is producing many of the metals needed for a cleaner future.

MetalTechnological Applications
CopperWind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles
SilverSolar panels, electric vehicles
Zinc Wind turbines, energy storage
Nickel Electric vehicles, energy storage
MolybdenumWind turbines
Steelmaking CoalGrid infrastructure

With vast resources of critical minerals, B.C. is well-positioned to play a key role in the transition to a low-carbon economy and clean energy future.

#9: Increasing Activity and Financial Incentives

Exploration expenditure in B.C. has been rising for the last 5 years. Despite the impact of the pandemic, 2020 saw the highest level of exploration spending since 2014.

The provincial government provides incentives to actively encourage investments in exploration, mining, and innovation. These include tax credits for exploration, apprentice training, as well as investment allowances that let investors claim interest on capital invested while the mine is in production.

Mine development is also highly incentivized in B.C., with companies able to claim one-third of eligible capital expenses for the development and expansion of mines.

A Bright Future for Mining and Exploration

B.C.’s natural potential for mineral exploration, combined with jurisdictional advantages, makes it one of Canada’s prime locations for the mining industry.

With effective regulations, mineral-rich geology, and an active mining industry, B.C. offers a bright future for mining and mineral exploration.

>>>The BCRMA is a strategic partnership between indigenous groups, industry, and government representatives that aims to promote B.C.’s mining opportunities internationally.

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Ranked: Emissions per Capita of the Top 30 U.S. Investor-Owned Utilities

Roughly 25% of all GHG emissions come from electricity production. See how the top 30 IOUs rank by emissions per capita.

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Emissions per Capita of the Top 30 U.S. Investor-Owned Utilities

Approximately 25% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) come from electricity generation.

Subsequently, this means investor-owned utilities (IOUs) will have a crucial role to play around carbon reduction initiatives. This is particularly true for the top 30 IOUs, where almost 75% of utility customers get their electricity from.

This infographic from the National Public Utilities Council ranks the largest IOUs by emissions per capita. By accounting for the varying customer bases they serve, we get a more accurate look at their green energy practices. Here’s how they line up.

Per Capita Rankings

The emissions per capita rankings for the top 30 investor-owned utilities have large disparities from one another.

Totals range from a high of 25.8 tons of CO2 per customer annually to a low of 0.5 tons.

UtilityEmissions Per Capita (CO2 tons per year)Total Emissions (M)
TransAlta25.816.3
Vistra22.497.0
OGE Energy21.518.2
AES Corporation19.849.9
Southern Company18.077.8
Evergy14.623.6
Alliant Energy14.414.1
DTE Energy14.229.0
Berkshire Hathaway Energy14.057.2
Entergy13.840.5
WEC Energy13.522.2
Ameren12.831.6
Duke Energy12.096.6
Xcel Energy11.943.3
Dominion Energy11.037.8
Emera11.016.6
PNM Resources10.55.6
PPL Corporation10.428.7
American Electric Power9.250.9
Consumers Energy8.716.1
NRG Energy8.229.8
Florida Power and Light8.041.0
Portland General Electric7.66.9
Fortis Inc.6.112.6
Avangrid5.111.6
PSEG3.99.0
Exelon3.834.0
Consolidated Edison1.66.3
Pacific Gas and Electric0.52.6
Next Era Energy Resources01.1

PNM Resources data is from 2019, all other data is as of 2020

Let’s start by looking at the higher scoring IOUs.

TransAlta

TransAlta emits 25.8 tons of CO2 emissions per customer, the largest of any utility on a per capita basis. Altogether, the company’s 630,000 customers emit 16.3 million metric tons. On a recent earnings call, its management discussed clear intent to phase out coal and grow their renewables mix by doubling their renewables fleet. And so far it appears they’ve been making good on their promise, having shut down the Canadian Highvale coal mine recently.

Vistra

Vistra had the highest total emissions at 97 million tons of CO2 per year and is almost exclusively a coal and gas generator. However, the company announced plans for 60% reductions in CO2 emissions by 2030 and is striving to be carbon neutral by 2050. As the highest total emitter, this transition would make a noticeable impact on total utility emissions if successful.

Currently, based on their 4.3 million customers, Vistra sees per capita emissions of 22.4 tons a year. The utility is a key electricity provider for Texas, ad here’s how their electricity mix compares to that of the state as a whole:

Energy SourceVistraState of Texas
Gas63%52%
Coal29%15%
Nuclear6%9%
Renewables1%24%
Oil1%0%

Despite their ambitious green energy pledges, for now only 1% of Vistra’s electricity comes from renewables compared to 24% for Texas, where wind energy is prospering.

Based on those scores, the average customer from some of the highest emitting utility groups emit about the same as a customer from each of the bottom seven, who clearly have greener energy practices. Let’s take a closer look at emissions for some of the bottom scoring entities.

Utilities With The Greenest Energy Practices

Groups with the lowest carbon emission scores are in many ways leaders on the path towards a greener future.

Exelon

Exelon emits only 3.8 tons of CO2 emissions per capita annually and is one of the top clean power generators across the Americas. In the last decade they’ve reduced their GHG emissions by 18 million metric tons, and have recently teamed up with the state of Illinois through the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Through this, Exelon will receive $700 million in subsidies as it phases out coal and gas plants to meet 2030 and 2045 targets.

Consolidated Edison

Consolidated Edison serves nearly 4 million customers with a large chunk coming from New York state. Altogether, they emit 1.6 tons of CO2 emissions per capita from their electricity generation.

The utility group is making notable strides towards a sustainable future by expanding its renewable projects and testing higher capacity limits. In addition, they are often praised for their financial management and carry the title of dividend aristocrat, having increased their dividend for 47 years and counting. In fact, this is the longest out of any utility company in the S&P 500.

A Sustainable Tomorrow

Altogether, utilities will have a pivotal role to play in decarbonization efforts. This is particularly true for the top 30 U.S. IOUs, who collectively serve 60 million Americans, or one-fifth of the U.S. population.

Ultimately, this means a unique moment for utilities is emerging. As the transition toward cleaner energy continues and various groups push to achieve their goals, all eyes will be on utilities to deliver.

The National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource to learn how utilities can lead in the path towards decarbonization.

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The Road to Decarbonization: How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet

The U.S. alone generates ∼12 million tons of asphalt shingles tear-off waste and installation scrap every year and more than 90% of it is dumped into landfills.

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Road to Decarbonization - How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet

The Road to Decarbonization: How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet

Asphalt, also known as bitumen, has various applications in the modern economy, with annual demand reaching 110 million tons globally.

Until the 20th century, natural asphalt made from decomposed plants accounted for the majority of asphalt production. Today, most asphalt is refined from crude oil.

This graphic, sponsored by Northstar Clean Technologies, shows how new technologies to reuse and recycle asphalt can help protect the environment.

The Impact of Climate Change

Pollution from vehicles is expected to decline as electric vehicles replace internal combustion engines.

But pollution from asphalt could actually increase in the next decades because of rising temperatures in some parts of the Earth. When subjected to extreme temperatures, asphalt releases harmful greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.

Emissions from Road Construction (Source) CO2 equivalent (%)
Asphalt 28%
Concrete18%
Excavators and Haulers16%
Trucks13%
Crushing Plant 10%
Galvanized Steel 6%
Reinforced Steel6%
Plastic Piping 2%
Geotextile1%

Asphalt paved surfaces and roofs make up approximately 45% and 20% of surfaces in U.S. cities, respectively. Furthermore, 75% of single-family detached homes in Canada and the U.S. have asphalt shingles on their roofs.

Reducing the Environmental Impact of Asphalt

Similar to roads, asphalt shingles have oil as the primary component, which is especially harmful to the environment.

Shingles do not decompose or biodegrade. The U.S. alone generates ∼12 million tons of asphalt shingles tear-off waste and installation scrap every year and more than 90% of it is dumped into landfills, the equivalent of 20 million barrels of oil.

But most of it can be reused, rather than taking up valuable landfill space.

Using technology, the primary components in shingles can be repurposed into liquid asphalt, aggregate, and fiber, for use in road construction, embankments, and new shingles.

Providing the construction industry with clean, sustainable processing solutions is also a big business opportunity. Canada alone is a $1.3 billion market for recovering and reprocessing shingles.

Northstar Clean Technologies is the only public company that repurposes 99% of asphalt shingles components that otherwise go to landfills.

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