The leading economic industry drivers for Fort St. James are mining/mineral exploration and forestry.
In October of 2013 Fengate Capital Management Inc. and Dalkia Canada announced financial closing on their $235 Million construction project, the Fort Green Energy Project. The Fort Green Energy Project is a 40MW biomass energy production project with a 30 year energy purchasing agreement with BC Hydro. The project will begin earthworks and construction in late 2013/early 2014 and has proposed operations to begin mid 2016. Construction and engineering will be overseen by Iberdrola, an international energy construction company headquartered in Spain. Early estimates are proposing up to 23 operational positions for the facility, not including spin-off employment. Construction is being estimated to have up to 250 people at peak of construction. The company will need 200,000 tonnes/year of fibre supply, and will help to reduce the amount of wood waste currently burned in slash piles and beehive burners in the area.
On October 8, 2013 the Mt. Milligan Mine celebrated their mine commissioning, with full production aimed to take place at the site by the 4th Quarter of 2013. Mt. Milligan is a copper and gold mine 90km North of Fort St. James with approximately 350 operational employees. The construction of the mine cost roughly $1.5 Billion and is British Columbia’s first major mine construction in over a decade. The project is owned by Denver-based Thompson Creek Metals, who typically mine molybdenum but who are diversifying their portfolio through this open pit copper and gold mine.
In 2011 the Ministry of Forests and Range reported 21,714 loads of timber being shipped to local sawmills in Fort St. James. On average each load contained 50 cubic metres of wood, indicating about 1,085,700 cubic metres of wood being shipped through area licensees. Total annual allowable cut for all Fort St. James licensees (including First Nations Licensees) is 1,577,116 cubic metres.