Minerals for War: British Columbia’s Production of Mercury and Tungsten in World War Two
Abstract: Allied manufacturing of munitions during the Second World War caused labour shortages and decreased production in British Columbia’s mining sector. The provincial Department of Mines supported efforts by the federal Department of Munitions and Supply to ensure war industries had sufficient supplies of strategically important metals. Close cooperation between Canada and the United States encouraged American investment in new metal sources in Canada. A pressing need for tungsten and mercury led to opening British Columbia mines with their production supplanting overseas sources for important minerals in support of Allied economic warfare strategies. The war focused attention on two unique sites in British Columbia which illustrate the unusual demands and fears of wartime.