Despite the recent economic downturn, the Pacific Northwest market region, encompassing the U.S. states of Oregon and Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia, has one of the highest concentrations of industrial project spending in North America.

According to recent research conducted by Industrial Info Resources (IIR), based in Sugar Land, Texas, more than 640 major industrial projects, totaling more than $92 billion in total investment value, are currently planned to begin construction in the region during 2008 or beyond. Breaking this total down, 222 projects (totaling $17 billion) are already under construction or are scheduled to begin construction before the end of the year. In 2009, 221 projects (totaling $27 billion) are planned, and 123 projects (totaling $29 billion) are expected in 2010. Looking past 2010, there is an additional $19 billion predicted.

Market wise, the power and metals & minerals industries are faring well, accounting for 72% of the planned spending in the Pacific Northwest (click here to see chart). This is due in part to the large number of mining projects under development in British Columbia. For example, construction began in 2008 on a $592-million project to restart copper and gold ore mining at the New Afton mine near Kamloops, British Columbia. This project will include a 1.4-million-ton-per-year underground mine and an expansion of an existing concentrator to 11,000 tons per day. Completion is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2009.

In terms of how the money is allocated, British Columbia accounts for 58% of the spending with 249 projects totaling $53 billion. Oregon has 178 projects totaling $20 billion, and Washington has 222 projects totaling $19 billion.