Coal mining is an important contributor to Canada’s GDP – contributing an estimated about $5.2 billion in direct and indirect impacts in 2011. In recent years the industry has seen remarkably strong growth in revenue and capital investment. Between 2001 and 2010, revenue grew by 14.6% and during the same time frame capital investments grew by 19.3%.
The industry benefits Canadians through employment, investment in physical infrastucture and taxes and royalties which help to pay for roads, schools and hospitals.
Canada coal industry employs a highly skilled and diverse workforce. Approximately 42,000 people are directly and indirectly employed by the coal industry and coal employment has been rising steadily since 2004.
The coal industry fosters a knowledge based economy because it requires highly skilled and technical people including engineers, geologists, technologists, etc. who make significantly higher wages than those employed in other sectors. Coal industry salaries are higher than the average national wage. From 2001 to 2010, salaries in the mining industry increased by 37%.
The mining industry is also largest employer of Aboriginal people in Canada and works with educational institutions and governments to provide training and employment opportunities.
- Mining Industry Human Resources Council – 2010 Workforce Report
- Natural Resources Canada – Mining & Minerals Employment, Salaries and Wages
Investment in Canada’s physical infrastruture, from power generating plants to railroads and ports is making a positive impact on the coal industry.
- By early 2013, western-based Westshore, Neptune and Ridley Terminals will see over $1 billion invested in improvements to the efficiency and capacity of their terminals.
- In 2011, both CN and CP invested almost $3 billion on infrastructure and fleet upgrades. A significant amount of that investment supports coal shipments.
Taxes and Royalties
The vast majority of coal production takes place on land which is ultimately owned by the people of Canada. In return for resource development on Crown Land government collects millions of dollars in royalties from coal companies each year. Royalties are used to help build roads, hospitals and schools and support government services which enrich our quality of life.
In addition to royalties, the total economic impacts on government revenues in 2011 were estimated at $698 million and available to fund public infrastructure such as roads, hospitals, schools and government programs which enrich the lives of Canadians.