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.

Author Biography

Robert George McCandless, retired public servant

Retired professonal geoscientist living in Delta BC, formerly with the federal public service.  Auithor of Yukon Wildlife: A Social History (Univ Alberta Press, 1986); BC Studies No 178 (Summer 2013) "Postponed Decsions:Petroleum Exploration on Canada's Western Continental Shelf'; BC Studies No 188 (Winter 2015/16) "Ending Pollution at the Britannia Mine'; and other publications.





Research Note