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Report: BC Coalfields May Become Critical Minerals Source

Press Release

Vancouver, BC – January 22, 2024 – A new report released by Geoscience BC indicates the potential for coalfields in British Columbia’s East Kootenays to host elevated concentrations of rare earth elements.

Rare earth elements (REEs), a group of elements with uses in technologies such as turbines and electric motors, are important to Canada’s transition to a net-zero emissions economy. Owing to the presence of REEs in some coal seams, BC’s search for inventories of these natural resources includes coalfields in the Southeast Region.

A study of REE concentrations in the East Kootenays’ metallurgical coalfields is enhancing the foundational research required to guide industry, communities and Indigenous groups in their decision-making. This study has, for the first time, characterized REEs in BC coal. Over one hundred samples were tested, with elevated REE concentrations recorded. Preliminary testing of extraction techniques also demonstrated the techniques recommended for further study.

Geoscience BC Vice President, Minerals Christa Pellett said: “With the federal government’s recently released Critical Minerals Strategy and its inclusion of rare earth elements as a priority resource for Canada’s economy and move toward net-zero emissions, this study helps advance the search for rare earth elements in BC.”

Accessing information

To view the reports and information maps, visit the project page or view the project area on Geoscience BC’s Earth Science Viewer online mapping application.

About Geoscience BC

Geoscience BC’s independent, public geoscience is a first link in the supply chain for Canada’s net-zero emissions economy.

Our critical minerals and metals, cleaner energy and geological carbon capture and storage research is funded by industry, government and other partners. It informs evidence-based decisions by industry, governments, Indigenous groups and communities.

Geoscience BC is guided by a volunteer Board of Directors, technical and Indigenous volunteers and by Geoscience BC members. We are a not-for-profit society incorporated under the BC Societies Act.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of our partners, including the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.

Visit or follow us @GeoscienceBC to find out more.

For more information, please contact:

Richard Truman

Geoscience BC

604-662-4147 / 778-929-1662



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