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Coal is king in BC mining industry

British Columbia is putting its green face on, but its heart is black as coal.

Members of the Wilderness Committee stood outside the Vancouver convention centre Wednesday -- the venue of BC Mining Week -- to protest the government's duality when it comes to climate change.

"This province claims to be a leader in climate change, yet we're actually ramping up our export in the dirtiest fossil fuel of them all, coal," said campaigner Ben West, flanked by a protester dressed up as a dinosaur. "Coal mining needs to go the way of the dinosaur, it needs to stay in the ground."

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report released Wednesday, the province earned $2.3 billion off the mining industry in 2009, though coal exports fell from 22.3 million tonnes to 16.9 million tonnes.

Coal represents the largest mining export in the province -- much of it going to developing nations, according to West.

"If anything, we should be helping the developing world kick the coal habit, not profiting off of it," he said. "It's our job to lead the way, promoting coal mining is a step in the wrong direction."

Matt Kieltyka reports for 24 Hours Vancouver.

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