Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal, and Mine Complex Development Activity in Canada, 2010 and 2011

Ginette Bouchard

The author is a senior mineral resource development analyst with the Minerals and Metals Sector, Natural Resources Canada.
Telephone: 343-292-8603
E-mail: Ginette Bouchard

Note to Readers

The intent of this document is to provide general information and to elicit discussion. It is not intended as a reference, guide or suggestion to be used in trading, investment, or other commercial activities. The author and Natural Resources Canada make no warranty of any kind with respect to the content and accept no liability, either incidental, consequential, financial or otherwise, arising from the use of this document.

Analytical Approach

In order to better understand the Canadian mineral exploration industry, including its challenges and strategies, this analysis drills down through layers of data from the federal-provincial/territorial Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures (the Survey) and complementary information such as metal prices. The analysis starts from a total mineral resource development perspective, or the full spectrum of data collected (also called “total investment” in this article) using national and regional comparisons. Thereafter, following a discussion of exploration and deposit appraisal activity drivers, the analysis focuses on indicators such as claim staking and drilling, followed by a thorough review of the most important indicator of all: spending. The reader should be aware that historical comparisons are denominated in constant 2010 dollars in order to account for inflation.

Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures

The data presented in this article are from the final surveys for the years 2009 and 2010 and, to some extent, from the revised spending intentions survey for 2011. The latter were compiled at the same time as the 2010 final data (reported mainly between March 2011 and July 2011). The analysis covers 2010 and 2011, with 2009 used as a reference frame for recent trends that should have been covered in the unpublished 2009 version of this article. Although beyond the scope of this 2010/11 article, data from the more recent 2011 preliminary estimates and 2012 intentions survey (reported between October 2011 and February 2012) are referenced at times to highlight significant changes in the main statistical trends.

The statistics are collected by individual property or project for field work, overhead costs, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access, along with associated capital and repair and maintenance costs for construction, machinery, and equipment.

The Survey covers metal and nonmetal projects excluding oil and gas, quarry, and sand pit operations. The reader should note that only project operators (that is, the single project owner or the reporting entity of a joint venture or partnership) are surveyed to avoid reporting duplication by property or project. Joint-venture or partnership details are collected to ensure proper follow-up and validation of such business agreements.

The Survey also allows the disaggregation or breakdown of property/project data by work phase, namely: exploration, deposit appraisal, and mine complex development up to the level of off-mine-site and on-mine-site location of activity. The ability to sub-divide these data into the different work phases of mineral resource development contributes to a better understanding of the dynamics of the Canadian mineral exploration sector.

For copies of the Survey form and Reporting Guide, as well as information about the mandate and history of the Survey, the reader is invited to consult the following web site:

Generalized Model of Mineral Resource Development

The definitions used in the Survey are based on the Generalized Model of Mineral Resource Development (the Model).

As part of an ongoing detailed review, some of the key classification criteria of the Model will be improved. This review exercise will allow the Model to better integrate an exploration project’s achievements as it progresses towards a viable mining project.

Key Definitions

The exploration work phase is defined as the search for, discovery, and first delimitation of a previously unknown mineral deposit or the re-evaluation of a sub-marginal or neglected mineral deposit in order to enhance its potential economic interest based on delimited tonnage, grade, and other characteristics. This phase is completed when a deposit has sufficient indicated mineral resources and has been the subject of a positive scoping study (preliminary economic assessment) that justifies the decision to conduct additional, more detailed and costly deposit appraisalwork (such as a pre-feasibility study).

The deposit appraisal work phase is defined as the steps undertaken to bring a delimited deposit to the stage of detailed knowledge required for a complete feasibility study that will fully justify and support a production decision and the large investment required. It includes activities such as definition drilling for mineral resources conversion into ore reserves, comprehensive tests, and planning.

A mining project is considered committed to production or migrating to the mine complex development work phase (the official start of full construction) when: the final feasibility study has demonstrated production at a profit, the production decision has been taken by the organization, financing is on hand or has been arranged, all permits and authorizations have been obtained, and major pieces of production equipment have been purchased or ordered.

The on-mine-site category of expenditures is defined as the area that can be accessed and exploited from the current or committed installations. The size of this area is determined by the environmental permits obtained (except for Quebec, where it is based on the size of the mining lease) and varies depending on the commodity under consideration; the attitude (horizontal, inclined, vertical); the type, extent, and number of deposits; and the mining method(s) in use. The allocation of expenditures on a single mine site to mine complex development, deposit appraisal, or exploration activity is based on distance criteria and/or the main work objective declared.

In some analyses, results are presented by company type. Broadly speaking, “seniors” (senior companies) are mainly project operators that derive their income from mining or other business ventures and that can direct part of that income towards their exploration and deposit appraisal projects. On the other hand,“juniors” (junior companies) usually have no regular source of income and must finance their projects through the issuance of shares.

Mineral Resource Development

Total Investment

In 2010, statistics for the exploration, deposit appraisal, and mine complex development work phases (inclusive of capital, repair and maintenance costs) were compiled from 877 active companies/project operators (often active in more than one province or territory). This total represented an 8% increase from the 810 recorded in 2009. These 877 project operators were responsible for an all-time record $14.4 billion in total investment, or a 40% increase over the 2009 high of $10.3 billion (Figure 1). An improving outlook for minerals and metals resulted in a slight increase in the number of project operators in 2011 as 884 of them were expected to account for a possible $17 billion in total investment (based on reported revised spending intentions plus an estimated $2 billion for repair and maintenance).

In 2010, the capital cost components of the three work phases (exploration, deposit appraisal, and mine complex development) accounted for 52% of total investment (Figure 1 and Table 1). Within this 52% share, 8%, or $625 million, was recorded in the combined exploration and deposit appraisal work phases. The next largest components of total investment were the exploration and deposit appraisal work phases (this time excluding capital, repair and maintenance) with 19% of the total. Repair and maintenance costs, in all three phases, accounted for another 15% and mine complex development expenditures (again excluding capital, repair and maintenance) accounted for the remaining 14%. A rough estimation for 2011 indicates spending shares of 53% for capital, 23% for exploration and deposit appraisal, 12% for repair and maintenance, and 12% for mine complex development.

Property Distribution

The Survey collects information on properties that is supplied by project operators. Properties can be the object of activities at more than one work phase. As such, the 2010 total investment record of $14.4 billion resulted from the activities of 877 project operators on approximately 3000 properties/projects across Canada. At least 2500 of these properties were in the exploration stage, 114 were in deposit appraisal, and 174 were in mine complex development (including 18 mills and plants). The total number of projects in the off- and on-mine-site deposit appraisal work phase, which hosts projects likely to be part of Canada’s next generation of mines, is expected to increase further in 2011 and reach 125. The high number of deposit appraisal projects for 2010 and 2011 is associated with record highs in spending of $1.5 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively, when capital costs dedicated to pre-construction are included.

Also in 2010, close to 600 projects (about 360 at the exploration stage, 65 at the deposit appraisal stage, and 174 at the mine complex development stage, including 18 mills and plants) were managed by 140 senior companies. Although senior companies managed only 20% of all properties, they accounted for 88% of total investment. This is a similar percentage to the 89% recorded in 2009 and reflects their capital-intensive involvement in the latter stages of the mineral development cycle. These percentages are relatively high when compared to the previous peak in 2008 when seniors accounted for 81% of total investment, and may indicate continued post-economic crisis weakness in the junior sector or a stronger commitment to mine development in Canada on the part of senior companies.

Expenditure Fluctuations

A comparison with 2009 numbers reveals that 73.3% of the $4.1 billion increase in total investment in 2010 can be attributed to capital costs for structures, machinery and equipment (in all work phases), 20.1% to exploration and deposit appraisal activity, 3.6% to repair and maintenance costs, and 2.9% to mine complex development work. By comparing the 2011 total of $14.8 billion with the 2010 total of $12.2 billion on the same basis (excluding repair and maintenance), it was found that total capital costs are responsible for 53.8% of this further increase while exploration and deposit appraisal activity accounted for 40.2% and mine complex development work accounted for 6.0% (Figure 1 and Table 1). More recent information for 2011 confirms the anticipated amount of $15 billion, but also indicates that the increases by component may vary significantly (about 44% for capital costs, 42% for exploration and deposit appraisal, and 14% for mine complex development).

Although small increases were recorded in 2009 in repair and maintenance costs and mine complex development (mainly related to mining activity), the core of the net $2.4 billion decrease recorded that year was due to an important slowdown in new project construction or current mine expansion programs (illustrated by a decrease of 61.8%, or $1.5 billion, in capital investment on top of a 55.2%, or $1.3 billion, drop in exploration and deposit appraisal activity).

Project-Specific Impacts

New mining projects under construction and mine expansions, for which expenditures are included under the capital and mine complex development categories (total mine complex development costs) are usually the most important determinants of year-to-year investment fluctuations. These components are discussed below while the exploration and deposit appraisal activity components are addressed later in this article.

A total of eight new mining projects entered the mine complex development work phase in 2010, three mine expansion projects were launched (at existing gold, copper and potash mines), and two mills were refurbished at former gold mines. Only one small gold mining operation closed while activity at the Craig and Thayer-Lindsley nickel-copper mines wound down in 2009 and was not recorded in 2010. Nine mining projects were expected to enter the mine complex development work phase in 2011. However, more recent information for 2011 indicates that another nine new mining projects (including one mill reported separately) could be committed to production while two projects from the revised intentions survey were suspended for a possible total of sixteen new mine complex development projects in 2011.

In 2009, during the economic downturn, only four projects entered the mine complex development phase while twelve projects were suspended. During the previous peak year of 2008, nineteen mining projects entered that work phase while six projects were removed from it, indicating that the outlook for new mining projects was still positive early in the year before the implications of the evolving crisis on these projects were better understood.

Of the eight new mines committed to production in 2010, four were for gold, three for base metals, and one for iron ore. Two Ontario gold projects (Timmins - Lake Shore Gold Corp. and Young-Davidson - Northgate Minerals Corporation), one Quebec base-metal project (Nunavik Nickel - Canadian Royalties Inc.) and one Saskatchewan potash mine expansion (Vault extension at the Vanscoy mine - Agrium Inc.) were the most significant in terms of investment.

Construction projects that saw their spending increase by more than $150 million in 2010 included Osisko Mining Corporation’s Canadian Malarctic gold mine project in Quebec, Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc.’s Endako molybdenum project in British Columbia, and Similco Mines Ltd.’s Copper Mountain copper project, also in British Columbia. Overall, the increase in capital expenditures was mainly attributable to the sustained and accrued development at mines already in construction and at producing ones.

While total mine complex development costs continued to increase in 2011, only three new projects, out of the nine committed to production that year, showed very significant levels of investment: Detour Gold Corporation’s Detour Lake gold mine in Ontario, Terrane Metals Corporation’s Mount Milligan gold mine in British Columbia, and, to a much lesser extent, K+S Potash Canada GP’s Legacy potash mine in Saskatchewan. The Detour Lake and Canadian Malartic mines are both large-tonnage, low-grade operations. Construction at Detour Lake is peaking ahead of reaching the production stage, scheduled for 2013, while development activity at Canadian Malartic is phasing down now that the project has entered the production stage. It is also interesting to note that the former underground Quebec Lithium mine that operated up to 1965 will be back in production as an open-pit operation with the plant to be commissioned by the end of 2012. Although more projects are expected to be committed to production in 2011, only one, the Eleonore gold mine in Quebec, operated by Opinaca Mines Ltd, should have a significant impact on the investment level.

On a commodity basis, the precious metals commodity grouping (mainly gold) was still leading in each expenditure category except capital costs (Figure 2a and Figure 2b). For the latter, potash, which is the main mineral commodity in the nonmetals commodity grouping, was the leader in terms of capital costs and brought this capital-intensive grouping to second place starting in 2009. Overall, total investment in each mineral commodity grouping increased, except for diamonds, which dropped by 5%. Investment more than doubled in the other metals, precious metals, and base metals groupings. Indications for 2011 point to precious metals maintaining their lead position followed by the nonmetals.

Regional Trends

Saskatchewan climbed from fourth place in 2007 to first place in 2008 and maintained its lead in 2009 and 2010 with more than $3.0 billion in total investment in 2010, most of it related to potash (Figure 3a and Figure 3b). The buoyant activity in Quebec pushed this jurisdiction to second place in 2009 and 2010, ahead of Ontario and British Columbia. Quebec and Ontario are the top jurisdictions for precious-metals investment with about $1.7 billion recorded in each province in 2010. Expenditures for precious metals were especially strong in Quebec where they increased from $712 million in 2008 to $1.2 billion in 2009 and $1.7 billion in 2010. Iron ore was also a strong performer for that province. Ontario is expected to regain first place in 2011 by surpassing the Saskatchewan total. Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to move up to fifth place on the strength of large infrastructure programs at iron ore installations (Figure 3b).

As noted, Saskatchewan’s lead in 2009 and 2010 was related to strong total investment for potash. The high demand for that commodity resulted in a 2008 average price of $381 per tonne (t) compared to $174/t in 2007 (Table 2). The price peaked in 2009 at $539/t and then decreased by 38% to $335/t, which is still reasonably high. Furthermore, the impact of a 10-year tax holiday on potash mine expansions, introduced in 2005 to increase potash mine capacity, has encouraged expansion at existing operations and spurred large investments.

Except for the Northwest Territories, total investment increased in all jurisdictions in 2010. Although numbers may have been incomplete for 2011, investment, excluding repair and maintenance costs, was expected to increase in most jurisdictions except Quebec, New Brunswick, and Alberta. More recent data for 2011 are confirming the trend, except that Nova Scotia should also experience a decrease while Quebec could instead see an increase in total investment (Figure 3b).

Exploration and Deposit Appraisal

The main objective of this section is to analyze exploration and deposit appraisal indicators (mostly spending, but also claim staking and drilling). In order to introduce this analysis and to provide some context, this section begins with a review of the main drivers of exploration and deposit appraisal activity.

Activity Drivers — Prices

Exploration and deposit appraisal intensity is influenced by several drivers, the main one being the price outlook. In recent years, emerging economies, especially China, have put upward pressure on mineral commodity demand, driving prices up for a number of key commodities. Furthermore, economic and financial turmoil in a number of western economies has helped sustain interest in gold.

For the main mineral commodities listed in Table 2, prices peaked in 2007 (average yearly price), except for gold, platinum, iron ore, coal, and potash, which continued to increase in 2008. In 2009, a shockwave, resulting from the effects of the international financial crisis that developed during 2007 and 2008, hit the mineral commodity market up to mid-year and the mineral exploration industry entered a wait-and-see period. During that year, average mineral commodity prices declined for most categories except, again, for gold, iron ore, and potash. The market outlook improved in 2010 and 2011, and mineral commodity prices appreciated for each commodity group except for potash in 2010 and molybdenum in 2011.

The rising mineral commodity prices at the end of 2006 and early in 2007 had a trigger effect on exploration and deposit appraisal activity, which extended all the way to renewing interest in previously marginal or sub-economic former deposits or mining camps. Spurred by strong demand, companies quickly began to re-evaluate the most promising deposits by updating or initiating scoping and pre-feasibility studies, and by reviewing and upgrading historical mineral resource inventories to National Instrument 43-101 (NI 43-101) standards for industry disclosure. Revamped projects, enhanced by new exploration results and the application of modern technologies and models, attracted investors eager to participate in their development. Strong commodity prices and record financing levels offset higher operating costs due to high demand for services and equipment. Many projects were fast-tracked and mine expansions, where possible, were initiated in an effort to take advantage of high commodity prices.

As the upcoming analysis will show, these upward-trending levels of activity were only temporarily interrupted in 2009. Overall, after a short-term low of $2 billion in 2009, total exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures improved in 2010, reached a record of $3.8 billion in 2011, and were expected to remain in record territory in 2012 (Table 3).

Activity Drivers — Financing

A number of junior-company projects have been subject to ownership changes in recent years, whether through joint ventures, acquisitions by senior companies, or investments by foreign-owned and controlled entities. These projects now appear to benefit from stronger financial backing and may not need to rely as extensively as before on equity markets for their advancement. Foreign companies and state-controlled enterprises have been particularly active in those commodities that support their industrial development or their high-technology sectors.

Nevertheless, equity financing remains an essential source of funds for the Canadian mineral exploration sector. Junior companies are important contributors to the discovery and advancement of mineral deposits for Canada’s pipeline of future mines, and governments, through the provision of tax incentives, continue to support their financing activities. Measures such as the federal flow-through-share (FTS) mechanism and the 15% Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC), as well as additional tax deductions and credits at the provincial/territorial level (some of which are harmonized with the federal tax credit), have been particularly important for the junior exploration sector. Data from Gamah International’s Mining & Exploration Company Financings (MECO) report show that flow-through-share financing dropped from $1.1 billion in 2007 to $625 million in 2008 and $572 million in 2009. The $598 million recorded in 2010 was a slight improvement from the previous year. However, the 2011 total of $852 million reflected a more significant improvement for junior company financing, although economic uncertainty still kept many investors away from this type of higher-risk investment.

Activity Drivers — Discoveries

While not documented in this report, new discoveries and positive results at existing projects also influence exploration and deposit appraisal activity levels. Canada has a very large and geologically diverse land mass, and large areas of the country have yet to be fully explored using state-of-the-art knowledge and techniques. The importance of new discoveries and positive work results is quite evident when very rich drill intersection results are released. In underexplored terranes, such announcements often lead to a claim- or map-staking rush to secure property rights as a precursor to more intense and costly exploration activity. Some examples of recent exploration rushes include the areas surrounding the Lalor Lake zinc discovery in Manitoba, the McFaulds Lake Eagle One (nickel-PGE) and Blackbird (chromite) discoveries in Ontario’s Ring of Fire region, and the Eleonore gold deposit in Quebec. However, the impact of these recent discoveries in terms of spending has been less than that of the renewed interest in previously known deposits.

Activity Indicators — Claim Staking

Claim or map staking usually occurs at a relatively early stage of mineral exploration and usually provides a good indication of current grassroots-type activities and some insight into where future advanced (deposit appraisal) work may be focused. Nonetheless, the analytical value of this indicator alone is limited.

Claim registration rules and guidelines differ across Canada and the following analysis is based on an attempt to collate similar types of information provided by provincial/territorial mining recorder offices. Furthermore, in recent years, mineral tenure has evolved with the advent of Internet-based map staking. Many jurisdictions have migrated toward this easier on-line registration method, which may have spurred the number of claims recorded during the transition period.

The area of new claims staked or recorded last peaked at 26.9 million hectares (Mha) in 2007 and decreased successively in 2008 and 2009 to reach 10.8 Mha that year (Figure 4a and Table 4). In 2010, the area increased by 32% and reached 14.4 Mha. Apart from Manitoba (-58%), Nunavut (-47%), Alberta (-35%), and Saskatchewan (-23%), the area of new claims recorded increased in all Canadian mining jurisdictions in 2010. The strongest proportional increases were in the Northwest Territories (+1600%), the Yukon (+357%), Quebec (+ 214%), and Nova Scotia (+144%). But, in terms of actual hectares, Quebec (+2.4 Mha) and the Yukon (+1.1 Mha) accounted for 69% of all increases. Altogether, British Columbia and Quebec accounted for more than 54.4 % of all new claims staked or recorded in Canada in 2010. The 1.4 Mha recorded in the Yukon is an unprecedented level, eclipsing yearly totals such as the meager 44,644 ha recorded in 2001. A further increase to 1.6 Mha is anticipated for 2011. This reflects the 2010 and 2011 quartz gold staking rush in two areas of new discoveries, the White Gold District and the Selwyn Basin.

In any given year, “total claims in good standing” provides a measure of the total area that companies have decided to reserve for their current and future exploration needs. The portion of Canada’s land mass covered by mineral claims in good standing in 2010 was 6.1% (or 60.8 Mha), a significant decrease from the 7.9% (79.0 Mha) and 7.8% (77.7 Mha) recorded in 2007 and 2008, respectively (Table 4). The 2009 total was slightly higher than in 2010 (6.4% or 63.6 Mha) and seems to represent the start of a declining trend for most provinces and territories (10 out of 12 jurisdictions in 2010 recorded decreases and 7 have registered continuous declines since 2008). The leading jurisdictions in terms of their share of the land mass covered by claims in good standing were British Columbia (14.6%) and Alberta (13.1%). The other jurisdictions had shares fluctuating between 2.5 % for the Northwest Territories and 8.5% for New Brunswick. In terms of total hectares covered, the leaders were British Columbia, Quebec, and Alberta.

Activity Indicators — Drilling

A review of surface diamond drilling statistics provides a good indication of the intensity of the exploration and deposit appraisal effort. Drilling is the means by which companies test mineral targets, discover and delimit a deposit (exploration), and finally obtain the internal characteristics of the deposit through definition drilling to establish the mining parameters (deposit appraisal).

Drilling activity (including surface and underground work using diamond and other types of drilling) represented 45% ($1.3 billion) of total exploration and deposit appraisal spending in 2010 (44% in 2009) (Table 5a and Table 5b). On its own, surface diamond drilling represented 38% ($1 billion) of the total spending and amounted to 5 616 742 metres (m). These numbers are similar to those recorded in 2009 when surface diamond drilling represented 37% ($726 million) of total expenditures and amounted to 3,860 729 m. In both years, surface diamond drilling accounted for the majority of the drilling metres recorded with 82% of all metres drilled in 2010 and 85% in 2009. The 5 616,742 m drilled in 2010 represent a 45% increase over 2009, but do not surpass the record high of 6 176,886 m reported in 2008 (1985-2010 statistical series, Figure 4b).

In 2010, junior companies accounted for 56% of all surface diamond drilling metres, compared to 61% in 2009 and a record share of 72% in 2008. This trend is similar to the one illustrating the increase in junior companies’ share of total spending, which stood at 56% in 2010, 57% in 2009, and 65% in 2008 (Table 3).

In terms of provincial/territorial levels of drilling activity (metres drilled), it is interesting to note that 38% of the surface drilling (diamond drilling and other types of drilling) occurred in Ontario and 23% in Quebec, altogether accounting for 61% of the total surface drilling activity in Canada. Surface drilling activity directed at precious metals in those two jurisdictions accounted for 47% of total Canadian surface drilling activity. Ontario and Quebec were also the top ranked in 2009, although their combined share was lower at 57% (42% directed at precious metals). Ontario also dominated in terms of underground drilling and rock work (often consisting of developing exploration drifts to establish drill stations or other workings to access the deposit under study). This type of work occurred predominantly at existing precious metals mining camps (gold and PGE) and at off-mine-site advanced gold projects (Table 5a and Table 5b).

A look at total surface metres drilled (diamond drilling and other types of drilling) by commodity group continues to show that the majority of surface drilling (82%, or 4 823,151 m out of a total 5 901,303 m) was associated with base- and precious-metal projects in 2010. Surface drilling for precious metals increased by 60% in 2010 and accounted for 64% of the total while surface drilling for base metals increased by 54% and represented 17% of the total. Underground drilling for base metals increased by 14 times to 156 146 m (out of a total 965,875 m) and drilling for precious metals increased by 47% to reach 727,141 m (Table 6a and Table 6b).

The intense exploration and deposit appraisal activity that took place in recent years, particularly in 2007 and 2008, contributed to an increase in the demand for equipment and services. This was especially the case in the diamond drilling sector where the national average calculated cost per metre incurred by company (inclusive of all other related costs such as drill mobilization, site preparation, and assaying) slightly surpassed $200/m (Figure 4b). In 2009 and 2010, these costs declined to about $187/m. It should be noted that a number of factors can affect drilling costs, including the location and the mineral commodity sought.

Activity Indicators — Expenditures

Expenditures (spending) are the most important indicator of exploration and deposit appraisal activity. They are also the most amenable to detailed analysis because of the wealth of information found in the federal-provincial/territorial survey. Hence, this section covers different aspects of exploration and deposit appraisal spending in Canada and provides data breakdowns by work phase and by sub-work phase (on-mine-site vs. off-mine-site) for type of company, commodity, and province/territory. Unless specified otherwise, the amounts quoted exclude associated capital and repair and maintenance costs for construction, machinery, and equipment.

Expenditures — Overview

Exploration and deposit appraisal spending recovered in 2010 when it increased by 43% to reach $2.8 billion, compared to the $1.9 billion recorded in 2009 when activity recessed temporarily during the financial crisis (Table 1). Notwithstanding the 2009 dip, the period of intense activity that began in 2006 (as described above) led to a record high of $3.3 billion in 2008, which, together with 2006, 2007 and 2010, marked the only times in Canada’s mining history that spending exceeded the $2 billion threshold other than in 1987 and 1988 when the Mining Exploration Depletion Allowance and a high gold price (close to $1000 per troy ounce when adjusted for inflation) helped boost expenditures.

When associated capital, repair and maintenance costs are included, total exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures reached $3.4 billion in 2010, or a 24% share of total investment. Comparable totals stood at $3.8 billion or 30% of total investment in 2008 and at $2.2 billion or 21% of total investment during the 2009 downturn.

Another record in exploration and deposit appraisal spending was set in 2011 when expenditures increased by a further 37% to reach $3.8 billion (or $4.6 billion when including the associated capital costs, for an estimated 28% of total investment) (Table 1). At the time of writing this article, the more recent preliminary 2011/spending intentions 2012 survey indicated that 2012 expenditures would be even higher and surpass the $4 billion barrier (or $4.5 billion when including the associated capital costs).

The total number of active companies, excluding prospectors, increased by 9% in 2010 compared to 2009 (836 compared to 764). The number of companies spending over $10 million continued an upward trend that began in 2004, increasing from 48 in 2009 to a high of 64 in 2010 and accounting for 62% of total expenditures, compared to 58% in 2009 (Table 7). As can be expected, the companies in that top spending range are responsible for the most recent increases in total expenditures. In fact, companies spending $10 million or more saw their total spending increase by $569 million in 2010 and by almost $1 billion in 2011 with around 30 more companies recorded in that range. Similarly, the number of companies in the $1 million-$5 million interval (the dominant range in terms of number of companies since 2005) rebounded in 2010, going from 180 in 2009 to 242 in 2010 and accounting for 19% of total expenditures. Altogether, companies spending $1 million or more contributed 95% of the total exploration and deposit appraisal spending in 2010, compared to 93% in 2009 and 97% in 2011 (based on revised company spending intentions).

A number of factors are believed to be behind these strong activity levels, including strong mineral and metal prices; the arrival of well-funded partners or new owners at some of the most promising advanced projects; the interest generated by emerging commodities such as rare earth elements, lithium, and chromite; the increased participation of senior mining companies and foreign-owned entities; and more diversified access to financing (although conditions remained challenging on equity markets).

Expenditures — By Type of Company

In recent years, junior companies have funded a large and generally increasing proportion of Canada’s exploration effort. In fact, junior companies have been outspending senior companies since 2004, a feat that had previously occurred on only one occasion in 1987. Total expenditures by junior project operators climbed from $185 million in 1999 (438 junior project operators) to a record high of $2.1 billion in 2008 (715 junior project operators). The $2 billion and 700 junior project operator thresholds were crossed in 2007 when the junior share of total exploration and deposit appraisal spending was at its highest with 67%. Junior companies were particularly hard hit by the financial crisis and their expenditures declined by almost $1 billion in 2009. However, the upward trend in junior expenditures resumed in 2010 with spending of $1.5 billion, and gained strength in 2011, once again approaching the $2 billion level. During that year, the number of junior companies in the more-than-$10 million spending range reached 52. These 52 companies accounted for about 50% of all junior expenditures for that year. The progression of junior companies over the last decade can be illustrated by the fact that, back in 2001, only one such company was in this top spending bracket, accounting for 8% of the total junior company expenditures (Table 3, Table 7, and Figure 5).

As a result of senior companies also increasing their spending in recent years, the junior companies’ share of total expenditures is now below 60% (as has been the case since 2009). Senior companies broke records in 2010 and 2011 with totals of $1.2 billion and $1.6 billion, respectively. According to more recent data for the 2011 survey year, spending by seniors could even have reached the $2 billion level. The number of senior companies has been relatively stable in recent years and stood at 133 in 2011.

It is important to remember that a change in company classification, including the upgrading of an advanced exploration or deposit appraisal project to the mine complex development work phase (where a junior company would now be considered a senior company), can affect the breakdown of expenditures by company type. However, in 2010 and 2011, the impact of such a change in company classification was overshadowed by increases in the number of companies within the higher spending ranges of both company types.

Expenditures — By Mineral Commodity Group

Precious metals and base metals remained the two leading mineral commodity groups in 2010, together accounting for 72% of total exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures. Precious metals alone averaged 51% (gold around 47%) of total expenditures between 2009 and 2011, compared to 37% between 2006 and 2008. Strong demand for gold, acting as a safe haven in times of economic turmoil, helped its price surge and rendered marginal deposits more attractive. During the 2006-08 period, interest for diamonds was still strong and uranium was emerging as a star commodity, but the attractiveness of these commodities has since weakened. In 2008 and 2009, interest in potash and commodities in the other metals category started to pick up. Chromite, rare earth elements, and lithium accounted for about 60% of the total of the latter grouping in 2010 ($83 million out of $142 million for that category) (Table 8). Once finalized, 2011 spending for the other metals category will have the same type of distribution, but the combined amounts could easily surpass $140 million with activity recorded at about 130 off-mine-site projects across Canada. Potash has represented about 90% of the total nonmetal costs since 2008, with expenditures averaging $154 million per year. In 2010, there were 17 active potash projects, 13 of which were in Saskatchewan.

As would be expected in a rebound year when the market outlook improved for most commodities, spending increases were recorded in each of the main commodity groups in 2010, with the exception of uranium (7% decline) (Table 8).These increases amounted to 86% for base metals, 79% for iron ore, 53% for diamonds, 46% for precious metals, 43% for other metals, and 2% for each of nonmetals and coal. In dollar terms, a combined increase of $710 million for precious metals and base metals accounted for 86% of the net increase in spending of $828 million from 2009 to 2010.

In 2011, expenditures increased for all commodity groups except uranium and diamonds. In dollar terms, the bulk of the increase came from precious metals (+$464 million), base metals (+$208 million), iron ore (+$182 million), and other metals (+$98 million) (Table 9b and Table 9c). These four groups accounted for about 95% of the $1 billion net increase. As a result of these increases, record highs were reached for the iron ore, coal, other metals, and nonmetals categories (other than diamonds) (Figure 6). Consequently, the commodity ranking changed in 2011 and consisted of, in decreasing order of importance, precious metals, base metals, iron ore, other metals, nonmetals, uranium, coal, and diamonds.

In 2010, increases were recorded in all commodity groups for both junior companies and senior companies. The only exception was a decline in uranium spending for junior companies. The strongest increases in dollar terms for junior companies were for precious metals (+$257 million) and base metals (+$114 million). Meanwhile, senior companies also increased their spending on precious metals (+$198 million) and base metals (+$141 million) (Table 10a, Table 10b, and Figure 7).

Expenditures — By Region

Total exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures increased in all Canadian mining jurisdictions in 2010 except Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In percentage terms, increases above 80% were recorded in New Brunswick (+113%), Newfoundland and Labrador (+92%), the Northwest Territories (+85%), Nova Scotia (+85%), and Alberta (+83%). In dollar terms, Ontario (+$317 million), British Columbia (+$157 million), and Quebec (+$132 million) accounted for 71% of the gross increase of $853 million. Manitoba and Saskatchewan represented a total decrease of $26 million (Table 9a and Table 9b).

In terms of total spending, the leading jurisdictions in 2010 were Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Nunavut. British Columbia regained third place after falling behind Saskatchewan in 2009. Together these five jurisdictions accounted for 83% (or $2.3 billion out of $2.8 billion) of all exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures (Figure 8).

In 2011, all mining provinces and territories except Nova Scotia experienced an increase in total exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures. Increases exceeding $150 million were recorded in each of Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario, and the Yukon. These four jurisdictions accounted for 72% of the total $1 billion increase. The leading jurisdictions in terms of spending stayed the same except for Nunavut, which moved into fourth place ahead of Saskatchewan (Table 9c and Figure 8).More recent numbers from the preliminary survey show that a number of jurisdictions set new spending records in 2011, and that Nunavut broke the $500 million mark while Ontario was the first ever Canadian jurisdiction to enter the billionaire club.

As mentioned earlier, on a national basis, junior company spending overtook that of the senior companies in recent years. This was also mostly the case on a provincial/territorial basis in 2007 and 2008, except in Nova Scotia. In 2009, senior companies were dominant in more jurisdictions, namely Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Nunavut.  In 2010, Newfoundland and Labrador joined the group of senior-dominated jurisdictions, as did Ontario in 2011 (Table 11a, Table 11b, Table 11c, and Figure 9).

In 2010, seven out of twelve jurisdictions saw the majority of their expenditures dedicated to the search for precious metals. In Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Manitoba, base metals were dominant while potash and coal were the focus in Saskatchewan and Alberta, respectively. No major shifts were expected for 2011, except for iron ore moving up to first place in Newfoundland and Labrador (Table 9a, Table 9b, and Table 9c).

Expenditures — By Work Phase

This sub-section presents expenditures broken down by work phase (exploration or deposit appraisal) with special emphasis on the sub-work phase (on- or off-mine-site). The work phases are based on the Generalized Model of Mineral Resource Development. The goal of this analysis is to provide an enhanced interpretation of the main expenditure fluctuations and to highlight specific elements of the model.

Work Phase Characteristics
Type of Work

In 2010, exploration expenditures (on- and off-mine-site) accounted for 68% (or $1.9 billion) of total exploration and deposit appraisal. Deposit appraisal spending accounted for the remaining 32% (or $881 million). Compared to 2009, expenditures in these two work phases increased by 44% and 39%, respectively (Figure 10a and Figure 10b).

One way to visualize the differences between work phases is to look at the types of activity undertaken in each one. The main activities under the exploration work phase consist of field surveys to detect anomalies and test drilling, possibly followed by delimitation drilling to confirm the extent of a discovery. Simultaneously or consequently, infill drilling can be necessary to produce a mineral resource calculation (or revision/upgrade of existing resources) as per the CIM (Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum) resource/reserve definitions embedded in NI 43-101 standards for industry disclosure.

As in previous years, surface drilling was the main cost component of the exploration phase with 53% of all exploration expenses in 2010 (Figure 10b). Geoscientific surveys represented another 22%. It should be noted that even when a deposit has entered the deposit appraisal work phase, the overall project can include an intense exploration drilling program at targets or zones situated outside the deposit under study.

As projects enter and progress through the “feasibility process” of the deposit appraisal work phase, more costly work usually takes place. This work mainly consists of more comprehensive technical studies (above the certainty level of a scoping or preliminary economic assessment study realized at the advanced exploration stage). In this work phase, engineering, economic, and pre- or production feasibility studies also become more predominant (26% of spending in 2010 compared to 4% in the exploration phase). Rock work (mainly underground work to access new zones or mineralized zones, and/or to better define a deposit and/or gain access to ore and prepare it for production) also gains in importance as the project progresses through the different work phases, accounting for 4% of the exploration phase, 17% of the deposit appraisal phase, and 61% of the mine complex development work phase (Figure 10b).

Sub-Work Phase — General

In 2010, off-mine-site exploration represented 95% ($1.8 billion) of all exploration expenditures while off-mine-site deposit appraisal represented 86% ($755 million) of all deposit appraisal expenditures. Those ratios are similar to those of the previous peak year (2008). In 2011, off-mine-site exploration accounted for 94% ($2.5 billion) of all exploration expenditures while off-mine-site deposit appraisal’s share of total deposit appraisal decreased to 78% ($848 million) as the share of on-mine-site deposit appraisal continued to grow (Table 12).

Sub-Work Phase — Type of Company Focus

Junior companies usually spend around 80% of their total expenditures on off-mine-site exploration and the remainder on off-mine-site deposit appraisal (junior companies have no on-mine-site activity). Senior companies incur about half of their total exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures for off-mine-site exploration, around 30% for off-mine-site deposit appraisal, and the remaining 20% for the combined on-mine-site exploration and deposit appraisal (Table 12). However, for 2011, percentages can reach 24% in each of off-mine-site deposit appraisal and combined on-mine-site exploration and deposit appraisal.

Sub-Work Phase — Commodity Focus

Precious metals and base metals remain the top two commodity groups in each of the exploration and deposit appraisal work phases, whether it be for off-mine-site or on-mine-site spending. In 2010, they were followed by uranium for off-mine-site exploration, diamonds for on-mine-site exploration, nonmetals (potash) for off-mine-site deposit appraisal, and iron ore for on-mine-site deposit appraisal (Table 10b).

Sub-Work Phase — Regional Focus

In terms of 2010 off-mine-site exploration, the leading jurisdictions were Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. For off-mine-site deposit appraisal, the leaders were Quebec, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. The bulk of the $590 million gross increase in 2010 off-mine-site exploration belonged to Ontario (+$253 million) and Quebec (+$107 million). Decreases totaling $39 million were recorded mainly in Saskatchewan and, to a much lesser extent, in Alberta. British Columbia (+$85 million), Quebec (+$55 million), Nunavut (+$24 million), Newfoundland and Labrador (+$21 million), the Yukon (+$20 million), and Saskatchewan (+$19 million) were mainly responsible for the $254 million increase in off-mine-site deposit appraisal expenditures. All other jurisdictions also experienced increases in their off-mine-site deposit appraisal expenditures (Table 13a and Table 13b).

In terms of on-mine-site exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures, Ontario continued to be the leader with increases of $17 million and $40 million recorded in each sub-category (totals of $44 million and $73 million were recorded in on-mine-site exploration and on-mine-site deposit appraisal, respectively, for that province). Strong decreases of $33 million and $18 million in on-mine-site deposit appraisal were reported for Quebec and Manitoba, respectively, in 2010.

For 2011, increases in off-mine-site exploration expenditures ranging between 14% (Ontario and Nova Scotia) and 232% (Alberta) were recorded in all Canadian mining jurisdictions, except for the Northwest Territories (-28%). In dollar terms, Nunavut, Quebec, British Columbia, and the Yukon (in decreasing order of importance with each recording an increase of more than $100 million) accounted for 67% ($525 million) of the total $778 million increase. The top three leading jurisdictions in that category of spending remained the same, but Nunavut ranked fourth, ahead of Saskatchewan (Table 13b and Table 13c).

In the off-mine-site deposit appraisal work phase, increases totaling $167 million were recorded in eight jurisdictions with the Yukon recording the most important increase ($54 million). This type of spending decreased in Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nunavut by a total of $74 million (Table 13b and Table 13c). The leading jurisdiction was Quebec, followed by British Columbia and Ontario. Nunavut ranked fourth while Saskatchewan fell from third to sixth place.

More recent information for 2011 indicates that total off-mine-site exploration and deposit appraisal (individual work phase data was not yet available at the time of writing) will show similar characteristics as for the 2011 revised intentions, i.e., all jurisdictions should record increases with the exception of Nova Scotia. In half of the jurisdictions, increases are even expected to be much more significant. Nunavut, for instance, could record an almost $100 million jump. On the other hand, the updated on-mine-site exploration and deposit appraisal numbers do not mirror as strongly the 2011 revised intentions; decreases are expected in Alberta, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and British Columbia.

Project Progression

Some of the most promising projects in terms of future mineral production in Canada belong to the off-mine-site deposit appraisal category. Other critical projects, in terms of investment and potential for future development, are those awaiting the outcome of scoping studies before entering the deposit appraisal work phase.

When projects migrate from the exploration to the deposit appraisal phase, not only do their costs generally increase as a result of more expensive activities, but their total count is lower (as fewer projects can justify the increased investment). There are between 2500 and 3000 active exploration and deposit appraisal projects in Canada. However, only 92 off-mine-site deposit appraisal projects, accounting for $755 million, were reported to be active in 2010 (compared to 87 projects for $501 million in 2009, 74 projects for $760 million in 2008, and a possible 97 projects for a conservative $848 million in 2011) (Table 14 and Table 12). Twenty-seven (27) of the 92 such projects in 2010 represented 77% ($578 million) of all expenditures in that category. The concentration of spending was less apparent in the off-mine-site exploration category where 43 projects represented 29% ($511 million) of all such expenditures (with an expenditure threshold of $1 million).

The year 2008 remains the only year, since the present data series was initiated in 1997, that total deposit appraisal expenditures increased more, in monetary terms, than exploration expenditures. This stronger commitment to deposit appraisal reflected the fact that a number of costly projects were preparing to transit from off-mine-site deposit appraisal toward mine complex development in the following two years. This transition could have depressed the level of off-mine-site deposit appraisal for the following year. Instead, expenditures increased as the result of a returning focus on advanced projects after the 2009 slowdown with these projects being viewed as closer to revenue-generating production by risk-averse investors. For that reason, once all data are compiled, the year 2011 could become a record year in terms of total deposit appraisal spending (for both the off-mine-site and on-mine-site sub-categories) (Figure 11). A record high of $1 billion may even be surpassed. This amount would also include record on-mine-site deposit appraisal spending, which is expected to reach $233 million. The $1 billion total would represent 29% of all exploration and deposit appraisal spending for that year (Table 13c).

Production Pipeline

In addition to mining projects entering the mine complex development work phase, projects entering the deposit appraisal work phase have important repercussions on yearly expenditure fluctuations of exploration and deposit appraisal spending totals (apart from existing deposit appraisal projects where activity intensified). Furthermore, not all off-mine-site deposit appraisal projects will translate into successful new mining projects. Factors that may affect the evolution of a project, either positively or negatively, can include the permitting process, metallurgy and engineering, quality and quantity of resources and reserves, fluctuating metal markets, access to financing, mergers and acquisitions, socio-economic issues, etc. As a result, projects can be cancelled, delayed, or sent back to earlier work phases, or they can be the focus of a special exploration program or accelerated towards the production stage.

In 2010, for example, a record number of 30 off-mine-site deposit appraisal projects were new to that work phase or had re-entered it. This included 27 projects newly classified under off-mine-site deposit appraisal and three projects re-entering that category. Fifteen projects that were classified under the off-mine-site deposit appraisal work phase in 2009 exited this category in 2010. Among them, eight entered the mine complex development work phase, five became inactive, one went back to the exploration phase, and one was newly classified as on-mine-site deposit appraisal.

In 2011, eight of the thirteen projects that left the off-mine-site deposit appraisal category entered the more advanced mine complex development work phase, as well as one directly from the exploration work phase. However, more recent information for 2011 reveals that one of these mining projects has been put on care and maintenance (the Hope Bay/Doris gold project in Nunavut) and another one has been delayed by one year due to a change in ownership (the Legacy potash project in Saskatchewan). Nine other projects were to enter the mine complex development work phase for a record high of 16 projects possibly committed to production in 2011.

The scale of projects moving within the mineral resource development sequence can be used to illustrate the major expenditure fluctuations between work phases. For example, 4 of the 15 projects that totally or partially exited the deposit appraisal off-mine-site work phase after 2009 represented 83% of the $121 million spent by the 15 projects. These four projects were the Canadian Malartic gold project in Quebec, the Timmins mine gold project and Young Davidson gold project in Ontario (both starting mine complex development in 2010), and the Bur potash project in Saskatchewan (inactive because of a transfer of ownership). However, the impact of those projects leaving the off-mine-site deposit appraisal category has been more than offset by the introduction of 30 off-mine-site deposit appraisal projects, which accounted for $160 million. Close to two thirds of this $160 million came from five major projects, namely, in decreasing order of expenditures,  the Westwood gold project in Quebec, the Cochenour gold project in Ontario, the Ming copper project in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Fort à la Corne diamond project in Saskatchewan, and, the Quebec Lithium  project in Quebec.

Furthermore, spending at existing off-mine-site deposit appraisal projects increased with the top eight spending projects accounting for a combined increase of about $120 million. Three of these projects are located in British Columbia, namely, Afton-Ajax, Red Chris, and Schaft Creek, all copper-gold projects. In summary, all of the above explains the $254 million increase recorded in off-mine-site deposit appraisal for 2010, which, on a geographic basis, can be mainly attributed to British Columbia and Quebec.

In terms of off-mine-site exploration, almost half (46%) of the $551 million net increase in 2010 was attributable to Ontario (Table 13a and Table 13b), which recorded increases of more than $10 million each from five gold projects and one base-metal project. These projects were the Phoenix, Hammond Reef, Rainy River, Pickle Crow, and Cochenour gold projects, and the Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper project.

Summary and Conclusion

In recent years, the Canadian mineral resource development sector has been buffeted by waves of global economic uncertainty and their effects on mineral and metal commodity markets. The downturn in spending in 2009 was followed by rising investment in 2010, 2011, and most likely 2012 (although worldwide economic conditions remain precarious at the time of writing this article in mid-2012). A big part of this upturn in activity was a result of the gold price benefiting from this uncertainty and supporting mine openings and projects advancing in the feasibility pipeline.

This focus on gold was reflected in the total mineral resource development investment statistics as a record of $14.4 billion was recorded in 2010, with one third of this amount dedicated to precious metals. That year, four of the eight projects committed to production were gold projects. Although the statistical analysis has not yet been completed, another record of $17 billion is more than likely for 2011.

Together, the exploration and deposit appraisal spending components of total mineral resource development investment followed a similar trend with totals of $1.9 billion in 2009, $2.8 billion in 2010, $3.8 billion in 2011, and more than $4 billion anticipated in 2012. If not for the downturn of 2009, the upward trend that started in 2001 for exploration and deposit appraisal spending would have lasted at least 11 years. The strong levels of exploration and deposit appraisal activity stand a good chance of continuing in the near future, but there are concerns being raised about a number of issues, including weakening demand from China, the deepening European financial crisis, the difficult U.S. recovery, and the impact of all these events on mineral and metal markets and financing activities.

Note: Most of the information in this article was current as of December 2011. Some inferences were made from partial data compiled during the January-March 2012 period.


Figure 1
Total Mineral Resource Development Expenditures in Canada, 1997-2011 (1)

Total Mineral Resource Development Expenditures in Canada, 1997-2011 (1)

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(1)  Data for 2011 do not include repair and maintenance costs. (2) Includes expenditures related to exploration, deposit appraisal, and mine complex development.
Note: Data for 2011 are revised spending intentions.

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Figure 2a
Total Mineral Resource Development Expenditures in Canada, by Mineral Commodity, 2009 ($10.3 Billion)

Total Mineral Resource Development Expenditures in Canada, by Mineral Commodity, 2009

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(1) Includes expenditures related to exploration, deposit appraisal, and mine complex development.

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Figure 2b
Total Mineral Resource Development Expenditures in Canada, by Mineral Commodity, 2010 ($14.4 Billion)

Total Mineral Resource Development Expenditures in Canada, by Mineral Commodity, 2010

: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(1) Includes expenditures related to exploration, deposit appraisal, and mine complex development.

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Figure 3a
Total Mineral Resource Development Expenditures in Canada, by Province and Territory, 2009 ($10.3 Billion)

Total Mineral Resource Development Expenditures in Canada, by Province and Territory, 2009

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(1) Includes expenditures related to exploration, deposit appraisal, and mine complex development.

text version - figure 3a


Figure 3b
Total Mineral Resource Development Expenditures in Canada, by Province and Territory, 2010 ($14.4 Billion) and 2011 ($14.8 Billion) (1)

Total Mineral Resource Development Expenditures in Canada, by Province and Territory, 2010 ($14.4 Billion) and 2011 ($14.8 Billion) (1)

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(1)  Data for 2011 do not include repair and maintenance costs. (2) Includes expenditures related to exploration, deposit appraisal, and mine complex development.
Note: Data for 2011 are revised spending intentions.

text version - figure 3b

Figure 4a
Area of New Mineral Claims Staked or Recorded in Canada, 1985-2010

Area of New Mineral Claims Staked or Recorded in Canada, 1985-2010

Source: Information obtained and compiled annually by Natural Resources Canada from provincial and territorial mining recorders.

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Figure 4b
Surface Diamond Drilling Statistics in Canada, 1985-2010

Surface Diamond Drilling Statistics in Canada, 1985-2010

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
Note: Data include surface diamond drilling in the exploration and deposit appraisal work phases only.

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Figure 5
Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Type of Company With Number of Active Project Operators, (2) 1997-2011

Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Type of Company With Number of Active Project Operators, (2) 1997-2011

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs. (2) Prospectors are excluded.
Note: Data for 2011 are revised spending intentions.

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Figure 6
Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Mineral Commodity, 1999-2011

Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Mineral Commodity, 1999-2011

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs. Note: Data for 2011 are revised spending intentions.

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Figure 7
Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Mineral Commodity, by Type of Company and by Work Phase, 2010

Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Mineral Commodity, by Type of Company and by Work Phase, 2010

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.

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Figure 8
Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Province and Territory, 2010 and 2011

Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Province and Territory, 2010 and 2011

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Note: Data for 2011 are revised spending intentions.

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Figure 9
Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Province and Territory and Type of Company, 2010

Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Province and Territory and Type of Company, 2010

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.

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Figure 10a
Exploration, Deposit Appraisal, and Mine Complex Development Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Work Phase and Type of Activity, 2009

Exploration, Deposit Appraisal, and Mine Complex Development Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Work Phase and Type of Activity, 2009

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities. (2) Geoscientific surveys include geology, geochemistry, ground geophysics, and airborne geophysics. (3) Drilling includes diamond and other types of drilling. (4) Rock work activity includes shaft work, drifts, cross-cuts, raises, declines, and dewatering costs. (5) Environment includes characterization, permitting, protection, monitoring, and restoration.

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Figure 10b
Exploration, Deposit Appraisal, and Mine Complex Development Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Work Phase and Type of Activity, 2010

Exploration, Deposit Appraisal, and Mine Complex Development Expenditures (1) in Canada, by Work Phase and Type of Activity, 2010

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities. (2) Geoscientific surveys include geology, geochemistry, ground geophysics, and airborne geophysics. (3) Drilling includes diamond and other types of drilling. (4) Rock work activity includes shaft work, drifts, cross-cuts, raises, declines, and dewatering costs. (5) Environment includes characterization, permitting, protection, monitoring, and restoration.

text version - figure 10b


Figure 11
Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures (1) in Canada, On- and Off-Mine-Site, 1997-2011

Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures (1) in Canada, On- and Off-Mine-Site, 1997-2011

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
EX-OFF: Exploration off-mine-site; DA-OFF: Deposit appraisal off-mine-site; EX+DA-ON: Exploration plus deposit appraisal on-mine-site.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Note: Data for 2011 are revised spending intentions.

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Table 1. Total Mineral Resource Development in Canada by Work Phase (on- and off-mine-site), 2009-11
Expenditure Category by Work Phase 2009 2010 2011
Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Total ($ millions) Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Total ($ millions) Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Total ($ millions)
($ millions) (%) ($ millions) (%) ($ millions) (%) ($ millions) (%) ($ millions) (%) ($ millions) (%)
EXPLORATION
Field work and overhead (1) 1,176.2 94.5 68.1 5.5 1,244.4 1,668.9 94.4 99.1 5.6 1,768.0 . . . . . . . . . .
Engineering studies 21.4 96.7 0.7 3.3 22.2 39.6 97.0 1.2 3.0 40.8 . . . . . . . . . .
Economic and pre-feasibility studies 16.2 83.6 3.2 16.4 19.3 37.5 99.2 0.3 0.8 37.8 . . . . . . . . . .
Environment 21.9 100.0 n.a. 21.9 39.2 99.5 0.2 0.5 39.4 . . . . . . . . . .
Land access 3.4 100.0 n.a. 3.4 4.9 100.0 n.a. 4.9 . . . . . . . . . .
Subtotal 1,239.1 94.5 72.0 5.5 1,311.1 1,790.1 94.7 100.8 5.3 1,890.9 2,554.6 94.3 155.7 5.7 2,710.3
Capital (2) 16.9 99.9 0.1 16.9 9.1 72.7 3.4 27.3 12.6 42.3 99.8 0.1 0.2 42.4
Repair and maintenance (2) 1.7 100.0 n.a. 1.7 1.9 100.0 n.a. 1.9 . . . . . . . . . .
Total 1,257.7 94.6 72.1 5.4 1,329.7 1,801.1 94.5 104.2 5.5 1,905.4 2,596.9 94.3 155.8 5.7 2,752.6
DEPOSIT APPRAISAL
Field work and overhead 305.2 71.0 124.5 29.0 429.7 418.9 78.8 112.8 21.2 531.7 . . . . . . . . . .
Engineering studies 45.7 94.3 2.8 5.7 48.5 108.9 100.0 n.a. 108.9 . . . . . . . . . .
Economic and pre-feasibility studies 85.0 95.6 3.9 4.4 88.9 109.3 90.6 11.4 9.4 120.7 . . . . . . . . . .
Environment 57.7 98.2 1.1 1.8 58.8 82.9 98.0 1.7 2.0 84.6 . . . . . . . . . .
Land access 7.0 95.1 0.4 4.9 7.4 35.0 100.0 n.a. 35.0 . . . . . . . . . .
Subtotal 500.7 79.1 132.6 20.9 633.2 755.1 85.7 125.9 14.3 881.0 847.9 78.4 233.4 21.6 1,081.3
Capital (2) 132.2 70.0 56.6 30.0 188.8 612.8 100.0 n.a. 612.8 736.6 92.4 60.3 7.6 796.9
Repair and maintenance (2) 13.2 67.7 6.3 32.3 19.4 28.4 100.0 n.a. 28.4 . . . . . . . . . .
Total 646.0 76.8 195.4 23.2 841.5 1,396.3 91.7 125.9 8.3 1,522.3 1,584.5 84.4 293.7 15.6 1,878.2
EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL
Field work and overhead 1,481.4 88.5 192.6 11.5 1,674.1 2,087.8 90.8 211.9 9.2 2,299.7 . . . . . . . . . .
Engineering studies 67.2 95.1 3.5 4.9 70.7 148.5 99.2 1.2 0.8 149.7 . . . . . . . . . .
Economic and pre-feasibility studies 101.2 93.4 7.1 6.6 108.3 146.9 92.6 11.7 7.4 158.6 . . . . . . . . . .
Environment 79.6 98.7 1.1 1.3 80.6 122.1 98.5 1.9 1.5 124.0 . . . . . . . . . .
Land access 10.4 96.6 0.4 3.4 10.7 39.9 100.0 n.a. 39.9 . . . . . . . . . .
Subtotal 1,739.7 89.5 204.6 10.5 1,944.4 2,545.2 91.8 226.7 8.2 2,771.9 3,402.4 89.7 389.1 10.3 3,791.5
Capital (2) 149.1 72.5 56.6 27.5 205.7 622.0 99.4 3.4 0.6 625.4 778.9 92.8 60.3 7.2 839.3
Repair and maintenance (2) 14.9 70.3 6.3 29.7 21.2 30.3 100.0 n.a. 30.3 . . . . . . . . . .
Total 1,903.7 87.7 267.5 12.3 2,171.2 3,197.5 93.3 230.2 6.7 3,427.6 4,181.4 90.3 449.4 9.7 4,630.8
MINE COMPLEX DEVELOPMENT
Field work and overhead n.a. n.a. 1,638.5 100.0 1,638.5 n.a. n.a. 1,716.1 100.0 1,716.1 n.a. n.a. . . . . . .
Engineering studies n.a. n.a. 73.3 100.0 73.3 n.a. n.a. 76.7 100.0 76.7 n.a. n.a. . . . . . .
Economic and pre-feasibility studies n.a. n.a. 39.4 100.0 39.4 n.a. n.a. 34.3 100.0 34.3 n.a. n.a. . . . . . .
Environment n.a. n.a. 90.6 100.0 90.6 n.a. n.a. 123.7 100.0 123.7 n.a. n.a. . . . . . .
Land access n.a. n.a. 18.3 100.0 18.3 n.a. n.a. 28.6 100.0 28.6 n.a. n.a. . . . . . .
Subtotal n.a. n.a. 1,860.1 100.0 1,860.1 n.a. n.a. 1,979.5 100.0 1,979.5 n.a. n.a. 2,131.7 100.0 2,131.7
Capital (2) n.a. n.a. 4,255.5 100.0 4,255.5 n.a. n.a. 6,848.8 100.0 6,848.8 n.a. n.a. 8,001.8 100.0 8,001.8
Repair and maintenance (2) n.a. n.a. 1,962.7 100.0 1,962.7 n.a. n.a. 2,102.1 100.0 2,102.1 n.a. n.a. . . . . . .
Total n.a. n.a. 8,078.2 100.0 8,078.2 n.a. n.a. 10,930.4 100.0 10,930.4 n.a. n.a. 10,133.5 100.0 10,133.5
Grand total 1,903.7 18.6 8,345.7 81.4 10,249.4 3,197.5 22.3 11,160.6 77.7 14,358.0 4,181.4 28.3 10,582.9 71.7 14,764.3

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil; . . Not available; n.a. Not applicable.
(1) Includes mineral leases, claims staking, and project-related head office expenditures. (2) Includes construction, and machinery and equipment expenditures, as well as related environmental protection and restoration expenditures.
Notes: Data for 2011 are revised spending intentions. Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


Table 2. Average Annual Prices of Selected Commodities, 2007-11
Commodity U.S. Currency 2007 2008 % Change 2007 to 2008 2009 % Change 2008 to 2009 2010 % Change 2009 to 2010 2011 % Change 2010 to 2011
Copper ¢/lb 322.83 315.47 -2.28 233.67 -25.93 341.75 46.25 400.10 17.07
Nickel $/lb 16.88 9.57 -43.31 6.65 -30.51 9.89 48.72 10.38 4.98
Zinc ¢/lb 147.03 85.01 -42.18 96.25 13.22 97.99 1.81 99.47 1.51
Lead ¢/lb 116.98 115.32 -1.42 77.95 -32.41 97.42 24.98 108.92 11.80
Molybdenum $/lb 29.91 28.42 -4.98 10.91 -61.61 15.61 43.08 15.33 -1.80
Gold $/troy oz 696.66 871.67 25.12 972.98 11.62 1,224.66 25.87 1,568.58 28.08
Silver $/troy oz 13.41 15.00 11.86 14.69 -2.07 20.20 37.51 35.60 76.24
Platinum $/troy oz 1,304.79 1,576.40 20.82 1,204.05 -23.62 1,610.13 33.73 1,720.11 6.83
Palladium $/troy oz 354.66 352.19 -0.70 263.57 -25.16 526.38 99.71 733.63 39.37
Uranium (U3O8) $/lb 99.33 61.71 -37.87 46.06 -25.36 46.84 1.69 56.37 20.34
Coal, metallurgical $/t f.o.b. 98.44 209.51 112.83 194.92 -6.96 198.29 1.73 267.00 34.65
Coal, thermal $/t f.o.b. 50.51 97.37 92.77 84.45 -13.27 96.12 13.82 103.00 7.16
Iron ore $/t 36.63 61.57 68.09 79.99 29.92 146.72 83.42 167.79 14.36
Potash $/t f.o.b. 174.09 381.34 119.05 539.37 41.44 334.85 -37.92 394.00 17.66

Sources: Platts Metals Week for base metals, molybdenum, and precious metals (base metals are based on London Metal Exchange [LME] Settlement prices, molybdenum on the MW Mean, gold on the London Final, silver on Handy & Harman, and platinum and palladium on the PM Fix); Cameco Corporation for uranium (uranium price is the U.S. spot price); Indexmundi (www.indexmundi.com) for iron ore; metallurgical coal, thermal coal, and potash prices are based on the realized price of Canadian potash exports to offshore markets and are calculated by Natural Resources Canada.


Table 3. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada, (1) by Type of Company, 1997-2011
Year Current Dollars Constant 2010 Dollars
Share of Total Total % of Total Junior (%) Share of Total Total
Junior Senior Junior Senior
($ millions) ($ millions)
1997 298.0 623.0 921.0 32.4 393.6 823.1 1,216.7
1998 170.5 485.4 655.9 26.0 226.4 644.7 871.2
1999 141.4 362.9 504.3 28.0 184.6 473.8 658.5
2000 156.0 340.6 496.7 31.4 195.6 427.0 622.6
2001 177.7 335.1 512.9 34.7 220.3 415.4 635.8
2002 190.8 382.6 573.4 33.3 233.9 469.1 703.0
2003 283.7 403.0 686.7 41.3 336.7 478.4 815.0
2004 599.7 578.1 1,177.8 50.9 689.7 664.8 1,354.6
2005 801.3 503.5 1,304.8 61.4 892.3 560.7 1,452.9
2006 1,238.0 673.5 1,911.5 64.8 1,343.2 730.7 2,073.9
2007 1,904.4 926.5 2,830.8 67.3 2,002.4 974.1 2,976.5
2008 2,117.8 1,161.7 3,279.5 64.6 2,138.7 1,173.1 3,311.9
2009 1,110.7 833.7 1,944.4 57.1 1,143.3 858.2 2,001.5
2010 1,547.0 1,224.9 2,771.9 55.8 1,547.0 1,224.9 2,771.9
2011 2,175.4 1,616.1 3,791.5 57.4 2,175.4 1,616.1 3,791.5

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Note: Data for 2011 are revised spending intentions.


Table 4. Summary of Claim Statistics in Canada, by Province and Territory, 2008-10
Province/Territory Area of New Claims Staked (hectares) Percentage of New Claims Staked (%) Area of Claims in Good Standing (hectares) Total Area (hectares) Area of Claims in Good Standing as a Percentage of Total Area (%)
2008
Newfoundland and Labrador 828,950 4.4 4,312 650 40,572 000 10.6
Nova Scotia 356,140 1.9 570,995 5,549 000 10.3
New Brunswick 121,570 0.6 608,000 7,344 000 8.3
Quebec 1,796 015 9.5 11,982 772 154,068 000 7.8
Ontario 1,611 584 8.5 5,808 352 106,858 000 5.4
Manitoba 694,423 3.7 3,127 582 64,995 000 4.8
Saskatchewan 1,226 883 6.5 10,576 816 65,233 000 16.2
Alberta 5,601 924 29.5 11,921 430 66,119 000 18.0
British Columbia 5,167 296 27.2 15,451 291 94,931 000 16.3
Yukon 252,507 1.3 2,605 146 48,345 000 5.4
Northwest Territories (1) 448,922 2.4 3,858 454 143,232 000 2.7
Nunavut (1) 872,986 4.6 6,900 011 199,400 000 3.5
Total Canada 18,979 200 100.0 77,723 499 996,646 000 7.8
2009
Newfoundland and Labrador 473,300 4.4 3,016 525 40,572 000 7.4
Nova Scotia 107,744 1.0 283,571 5,549 000 5.1
New Brunswick 57,178 0.5 659,556 7,344 000 9.0
Quebec 1,116 418 10.3 8,897 365 154,068 000 5.8
Ontario 937,776 8.6 5,429 504 106,858 000 5.1
Manitoba 381,944 3.5 2,773 718 64,995 000 4.3
Saskatchewan 544,521 5.0 6,310 826 65,233 000 9.7
Alberta 2,382 150 22.0 9,817 617 66,119 000 14.8
British Columbia 3,680 000 33.9 12,670 000 94,931 000 13.3
Yukon 316,538 2.9 2,893 426 48,345 000 6.0
Northwest Territories (1) 21,719 0.2 4,422 581 143,232 000 3.1
Nunavut (1) 829,367 7.6 6,407 479 199,400 000 3.2
Total Canada 2009 10,848 654 100.0 63,582 169 996,646 000 6.4
2010
Newfoundland and Labrador 804,925 5.6 2,805 700 40,572 000 6.9
Nova Scotia 262,673 1.8 328,168 5,549 000 5.9
New Brunswick 74,407 0.5 621,312 7,344 000 8.5
Quebec 3,508 487 24.4 10,227 423 154,068 000 6.6
Ontario 1,028 608 7.2 4,988 192 106,858 000 4.7
Manitoba 159,435 1.1 1,993 112 64,995 000 3.1
Saskatchewan 421,319 2.9 5,157 386 65,233 000 7.9
Alberta 1,547 993 10.8 8,672 851 66,119 000 13.1
British Columbia 4,300 000 29.9 13,864 000 94,931 000 14.6
Yukon 1,446 438 10.1 2,817 003 48,345 000 5.8
Northwest Territories (1) 368,833 2.6 3,529 153 143,232 000 2.5
Nunavut (1) 439,958 3.1 5,777 798 199,400 000 2.9
Total Canada 2010 14,363 076 100.0 60,782 097 996,646 000 6.1

Sources: Natural Resources Canada; provincial/territorial mining recorder offices.
(1) Excludes prospecting permits.
Notes: Data for Prince Edward Island are excluded. Excludes coal.


Table 5a. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Activity in Canada,
(1) by Province and Territory, 2009
Type of Activity Unit Newfoundland and Labrador Nova Scotia New Brunswick Quebec Ontario Manitoba Saskatchewan Alberta British Columbia Yukon Northwest Territories Nunavut Total Percentage of Total
Surface drilling
Diamond Metres 000 68.3 9.3 22.2 958.2 1,334.0 299.0 380.0 0.4 408.7 130.9 48.1 201.8 3,860.7 s. o.
Cost $000 13,371.6 1,244.6 3,174.0 133,335.6 238,882.9 53,888.4 88,656.8 323.2 89,471.3 31,520.6 13,906.7 57,755.4 725,531.1 37.3
Other Metres 000 15.2 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.7 59.3 67.1 10.4 3.9 2.8 2.2 163.8 s. o.
Cost $000 2,171.8 73.6 178.0 946.4 222.5 54,890.8 2,374.9 1,649.7 295.2 948.4 1,636.9 65,388.1 3.4
Underground drilling
Diamond Metres 000 152.1 310.4 25.9 8.3 7.7 1.4 505.8 s. o.
Cost $000 16,250.8 40,020.2 2,850.0 315.9 1,923.8 995.7 62,356.4 3.2
Other Metres 000 0.4 0.4 s. o.
Cost $000 51.0 51.0 . . .
Mineral leases, line cutting, and claims $000 538.0 276.3 237.9 7,996.9 5,956.5 947.1 3,794.2 914.6 7,337.9 1,641.7 929.9 1,751.6 32,322.7 1.7
Geochemistry and geology $000 5,607.3 1,950.4 2,910.2 49,648.0 57,683.7 7,047.4 19,113.3 698.6 39,650.0 23,117.7 3,472.9 20,060.6 230,960.3 11.9
Ground and airborne geophysics $000 2,806.5 86.4 780.8 14,442.7 16,933.1 4,024.5 31,936.3 244.1 7,580.3 2,728.7 1,913.4 5,589.1 89,066.0 4.6
Rock work (2) $000 394.0 1,883.2 30.0 74,867.5 104,083.1 18,846.6 2,830.2 9,595.6 5,924.3 3,160.4 221,615.0 11.4
Engineering studies $000 6,837.3 1,460.5 85.7 8,130.0 8,756.3 2,029.5 10,220.5 750.0 6,262.5 6,115.7 9,246.0 10,757.9 70,651.9 3.6
Economic, scoping, and pre- or production feasibility studies $000 3,541.6 551.6 434.0 12,313.6 16,476.4 2,295.8 45,458.1 585.0 16,289.0 1,635.3 4,309.6 4,384.2 108,274.2 5.6
Environment (3) $000 3,049.7 314.3 154.0 7,570.4 6,884.1 874.1 15,696.8 2,205.6 17,537.8 8,392.1 3,769.1 14,184.1 80,632.0 4.1
Land access (4) $000 708.3 262.8 - 312.8 2,208.8 111.0 740.0 - 2,398.1 467.6 310.0 3,215.9 10,735.3 0.6
Other field work $000 9,306.0 152.6 24.9 37,330.8 14,514.1 1,760.8 11,212.7 34.9 8,919.2 5,169.3 1,976.0 52,513.5 142,914.8 7.4
Head office $000 6,557.8 747.0 232.2 16,971.1 22,821.0 2,874.7 26,474.9 191.5 10,141.0 1,963.5 2,324.3 12,572.5 103,871.6 5.3
Total $000 54,889.8 9,003.3 8,063.7 379,348.4 536,217.6 97,772.3 311,024.6 8,322.3 217,148.5 90,895.6 44,102.0 187,582.2 1,944 370.2 100.0

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil; . . . Amount too small to be expressed; n.a. Not applicable.
(1) Includes on-mine-site plus off-mine-site activities. (2) Includes stripping, trenching, shaft work, drifts, cross-cuts, raises, declines, rock sampling, and de-watering costs.
(3) Includes characterization, assessment, permitting, protection/monitoring, and restoration/decomissioning. (4) Includes socio-economic, and impact and benefit agreements (including right of way and damage costs).


Table 5b. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Activity in Canada,
(1) by Province and Territory, 2010
Type of Activity Unit Newfoundland and Labrador Nova Scotia New Brunswick Quebec Ontario Manitoba Saskatchewan Alberta British Columbia Yukon Northwest Territories Nunavut Total Percentage of Total
Surface drilling
Diamond Metres 000 163.7 39.4 38.9 1,322.9 2,117.9 247.4 386.8 2.0 676.9 272.4 94.3 254.2 5,616.7 n.a.
Cost $000 30,933.7 5,670.2 5,034.8 192,572.3 364,840.4 49,133.1 94,032.4 872.0 137,272.6 59,539.5 24,216.2 88,103.9 1,052 221.1 38.0
Other Metres 000 1.8 0.1 8.9 143.2 1.3 23.7 43.9 22.0 20.4 6.7 12.6 284.6 n.a.
Cost $000 449.0 2.7 42.9 2,180.3 34,821.0 247.4 18,961.3 7,615.7 4,388.9 4,146.0 2,994.0 2,330.1 78,179.3 2.8
Underground drilling
Diamond Metres 000 8.5 196.5 555.7 54.2 30.2 48.9 7.7 17.8 919.5 n.a.
Cost $000 1,574.3 21,034.8 72,583.5 9,707.2 2,734.0 5,675.0 2,935.8 5,833.5 122,078.1 4.4
Other Metres 000 0.1 3.1 6.2 36.9 46.3 n.a.
Cost $000 58.0 220.7 343.4 4,411.0 5,033.2 0.2
Mineral leases, line cutting, and claims $000 1,380.5 373.9 413.7 9,760.2 12,455.1 2,546.1 5,125.8 800.2 11,454.6 5,437.5 1,518.0 2,701.8 53,967.3 1.9
Geochemistry and geology $000 10,612.2 3,032.8 3,208.1 60,324.8 85,839.3 7,609.4 24,940.3 1,404.3 58,527.6 25,988.5 5,063.6 21,803.5 308,354.5 11.1
Ground and airborne geophysics $000 6,067.4 1,454.6 1,825.2 20,193.8 37,783.4 5,823.6 21,147.3 383.5 14,981.4 11,423.4 10,645.3 11,501.6 143,230.5 5.2
Rock work (2) $000 10,167.2 2,769.9 287.3 64,196.9 123,439.5 137.0 112.6 337.0 15,584.3 2,900.4 7,702.2 227,634.4 8.2
Engineering studies $000 4,527.4 868.4 2,123.0 18,675.1 15,214.1 158.1 55,278.2 836.0 28,136.1 5,657.9 6,031.0 12,198.0 149,703.4 5.4
Economic, scoping, and pre- or production feasibility studies $000 9,748.2 879.2 319.0 26,407.5 44,970.8 1,664.6 20,623.7 1,850.0 32,418.5 3,011.4 6,487.0 10,177.2 158,557.1 5.7
Environment (3) $000 4,315.5 194.1 3,009.6 7,567.6 25,535.4 289.1 12,631.1 537.5 29,474.7 12,136.8 12,251.2 16,086.3 124,028.9 4.5
Land access (4) $000 1,563.4 502.5 117.4 1,309.9 1.4 16,540.0 5,405.1 4,833.6 1,373.5 8,292.2 39,939.0 1.4
Other field work $000 9,071.7 43.0 132.7 60,543.2 12,758.9 2,582.8 8,406.0 489.0 16,712.8 20,061.7 4,988.1 36,989.5 172,779.5 6.2
Head office $000 14,728.7 872.2 749.3 27,790.6 21,526.7 3,641.6 14,416.7 84.0 14,396.5 1,758.4 3,222.4 33,029.5 136,216.6 4.9
Total $000 105,197.3 16,663.4 17,145.7 511,585.3 853,421.5 83,541.2 299,360.5 15,209.2 374,428.0 156,895.1 81,726.1 256,749.4 2,771 922.8 100.0

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil; n.a. Not applicable.
(1) Includes on-mine-site plus off-mine-site activities. (2) Includes stripping, trenching, shaft work, drifts, cross-cuts, raises, declines, rock sampling, and de-watering costs.
(3) Includes characterization, assessment, permitting, protection/monitoring, and restoration/decomissioning. (4) Includes socio-economic, and impact and benefits agreements (including right of way and damage costs).


Table 6a. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal, Surface and Underground drilling in Canada,
(1) by Province and Territory and by Mineral Commodity Group, 2009
Province/Territory Metals Nonmetals Diamonds Coal Total
Base Precious Iron Uranium Other
Surface UG Surface UG Surface Surface Surface Surface Surface UG Surface Surface UG
(000 metres)
Newfoundland and Labrador 41 - 13 - 26 4 - - - - - 83 -
Nova Scotia 2 - 8 - - - - - - - - 10 -
New Brunswick 3 - 10 - - - 9 - - - - 22 -
Quebec 125 - 670 152 24 75 47 3 16 - - 959 152
Ontario 195 6 1,028 304 18 2 84 - 9 - - 1,335 311
Manitoba 149 - 149 26 - - - - - - 2 300 26
Saskatchewan 2 - 14 - - 326 - 54 - - 43 439 -
Alberta - - - - - - - - - - 67 67 -
British Columbia 113 5 217 3 10 - 24 4 - - 51 419 8
Yukon 25 - 92 8 - - 18 - - - - 135 8
Northwest Territories 0 - 7 - - - 15 - 28 1 - 51 1
Nunavut 9 - 166 - 2 15 3 - 8 - - 204 -
Total 663 11 2,375 493 80 423 200 61 61 1 163 4,025 506

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil; UG underground.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site drilling activity for diamond and other types of drilling.
Notes: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. No underground drilling was performed for iron, uranium, coal, nonmetals, and other metals.


Table 6b. Surface and Underground drilling in Canada,
(1) by Province and Territory and by Mineral Commodity Group, 2010
Province/Territory Metals Nonmetals Diamonds Coal Total
Base Precious Iron Uranium Other
Surface UG Surface UG Surface UG Surface UG Surface UG Surface Surface UG Surface Surface UG
(000 metres)
Newfoundland and Labrador 41 7 51 - 64 . . . - - 9 2 - - - - 165 9
Nova Scotia 3 - 29 - - - - - 7 - 1 - - - 39 -
New Brunswick 15 - 19 - - - - - 5 - - - - - 39 -
Quebec 193 - 864 197 86 - 54 - 113 3 18 4 - - 1,332 200
Ontario 302 89 1,902 467 - - - - 39 5 5 12 - - 2,261 562
Manitoba 105 40 143 14 - - - - - - - - - 1 249 54
Saskatchewan 15 - 22 - - - 296 67 1 - 62 8 - 7 410 67
Alberta 0 - - - - - - - - - - 2 - 44 46 -
British Columbia 221 19 357 30 9 - - - 40 - 1 - - 71 699 49
Yukon 102 - 168 - - - - - 23 - - - - - 293 -
Northwest Territories 11 2 50 2 - - - - 27 3 - 12 1 - 101 8
Nunavut 16 - 196 18 7 - 36 - - - - 13 - - 267 18
Total 1,023 156 3,800 727 166 . . . 386 67 265 14 87 51 1 123 5,901 966

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil; . . . Amount to small to be expressed; UG Underground.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site drilling activity for diamond and other types of drilling.
Notes: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. No underground drilling was performed for nonmetals and coal.


Table 7. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada,
(1) by Range of Expenditures and by Type of Company, 2007-11
Range of Expenditures ($) Junior Senior Total
Companies (number) Expenditures ($000) Percentage of Total Expenditures (%) Companies (number) Expenditures ($000) Percentage of Total Expenditures (%) Companies (number) Expenditures ($000) Percentage of Total Expenditures (%)
2007
>10 million 36 773,400 40.6 29 738,140 79.7 65 1,511 540 53.4
5 million- 10 million 62 428,131 22.5 14 98,343 10.6 76 526,474 18.6
1 million- 5 million 244 583,013 30.6 32 77,453 8.4 276 660,466 23.3
500,000- 1 million 101 73,716 3.9 8 5,641 0.6 109 79,357 2.8
200,000- 500,000 90 29,111 1.5 13 4,284 0.5 103 33,396 1.2
100,000- 200,000 46 6,177 0.3 14 1,996 0.2 60 8,172 0.3
50,000- 100,000 38 2,550 0.1 5 382 . . . 43 2,931 0.1
1- 50,000 91 1,906 0.1 19 218 . . . 110 2,124 0.1
Subtotal 708 1,898 003 99.7 134 926,456 100.0 842 2,824 460 99.8
Prospectors (2) 9 6,359 0.3 9 6,359 0.2
Total 2007 717 1,904 362 100.0 134 926,456 100.0 851 2,830 819 100.0
2008
>10 million 49 978,002 46.2 29 950,759 81.8 78 1,928 761 58.8
5 million- 10 million 52 361,216 17.1 14 112,577 9.7 66 473,794 14.5
1 million- 5 million 291 684,511 32.3 33 91,907 7.9 324 776,418 23.7
500,000- 1 million 71 51,733 2.4 4 3,326 0.3 75 55,059 1.7
200,000- 500,000 83 28,314 1.3 6 2,004 0.2 89 30,318 0.9
100,000- 200,000 60 8,433 0.4 3 444 . . . 63 8,877 0.3
50,000- 100,000 30 2,098 0.1 7 474 . . . 37 2,572 0.1
1- 50,000 79 1,460 0.1 10 176 . . . 89 1,636 0.1
Subtotal 715 2,115 768 99.9 106 1,161 666 100.0 821 3,277 433 99.9
Prospectors (2) 4 2,046 0.1 4 2,046 0.1
Total 2008 719 2,117 813 100.0 106 1,161 666 100.0 825 3,279 479 100.0
2009
>10 million 23 435,557 39.2 25 700,794 84.1 48 1,136 351 58.4
5 million- 10 million 36 246,009 22.2 8 58,110 7.0 44 304,119 15.6
1 million- 5 million 154 299,218 26.9 26 65,483 7.9 180 364,701 18.8
500,000- 1 million 101 73,460 6.6 8 5,565 0.7 109 79,025 4.1
200,000- 500,000 119 39,664 3.6 8 2,619 0.3 127 42,283 2.2
100,000- 200,000 68 9,298 0.8 4 579 0.1 72 9,877 0.5
50,000- 100,000 51 3,528 0.3 6 469 . . . 57 3,898 0.2
1- 50,000 117 2,092 0.2 10 185 . . . 127 2,278 0.1
Subtotal 670 1,108 827 99.8 94 833,705 100.0 764 1,942 532 99.9
Prospectors (2) 4 1,838 0.2 4 1,838 0.1
Total 2009 674 1,110 665 100.0 94 833,705 100.0 768 1,944 370 100.0
2010
>10 million 33 678,436 43.9 31 1,027 171 83.9 64 1,705 607 61.5
5 million- 10 million 37 273,355 17.7 16 117,235 9.6 53 390,590 14.1
1 million- 5 million 215 461,877 29.9 27 73,183 6.0 242 535,060 19.3
500,000- 1 million 103 74,160 4.8 6 4,495 0.4 109 78,656 2.8
200,000- 500,000 124 40,173 2.6 7 2,116 0.2 131 42,289 1.5
100,000- 200,000 84 11,108 0.7 3 329 . . . 87 11,436 0.4
50,000- 100,000 50 3,601 0.2 4 246 . . . 54 3,846 0.1
1- 50,000 87 1,837 0.1 9 103 . . . 96 1,940 0.1
Subtotal 733 1,544 547 99.8 103 1,224 878 100.0 836 2,769 424 99.9
Prospectors (2) 4 2,498 0.2 4 2,498 0.1
Total 2010 737 1,547 045 100.0 103 1,224 878 100.0 840 2,771 923 100.0
2011
>10 million 52 1,068 563 49.1 43 1,374 771 85.1 95 2,443 334 64.4
5 million- 10 million 55 357,492 16.4 19 141,255 8.7 74 498,747 13.2
1 million- 5 million 294 648,112 29.8 35 91,575 5.7 329 739,686 19.5
500,000- 1 million 99 62,848 2.9 9 5,238 0.3 108 68,086 1.8
200,000- 500,000 97 28,839 1.3 7 1,700 0.1 104 30,539 0.8
100,000- 200,000 52 6,372 0.3 3 400 55 6,772 0.2
50,000- 100,000 34 1,947 0.1 8 465 42 2,412 0.1
1- 50,000 37 717 . . . 9 196 46 912 . . .
Subtotal 720 2,174 889 100.0 133 1,615 599 100.0 853 3,790 488 100.0
Prospectors (2) 3 550 . . . 500 4 1,050 . . .
Total 2011 723 2,175 439 100.0 133 1,616 099 100.0 857 3,791 538 100.0

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil; . . . Amount too small to be expressed.
(1) Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures include off-mine-site and on-mine-site costs incurred for field work and overhead, plus engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs. (2) The number of prospectors is underestimated because it contains groups of prospectors.
Notes: Data for 2011 are revised spending intentions. Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


scope="col">
Table 8. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada,
(1) by Specific Commodity of Interest, 2006-10
Mineral Commodity 2008 Expenditures ($ millions) Rank in 2008 2008 Percentage of Total (%) Change 2007 to 2008 (%) 2009 Expenditures ($ millions) Rank in 2009 2009 Percentage of Total (%) Change 2008 to 2009 (%) 2010 Expenditures ($ millions) Rank in 2010 2010 Percentage of Total (%) Change 2009 to 2010 (%)
Base metals 811.7 n.a. 24.8 14.1 296.6 n.a. 15.3 -63.5 551.9 n.a. 19.9 86.1
Nickel 282.5 4 8.6 62.8 124.9 5 6.4 -55.8 190.6 3 6.9 52.6
Copper 352.3 3 10.7 2.7 126.3 4 6.5 -64.1 247.0 2 8.9 95.5
Lead 29.0 14 0.9 -39.2 5.9 17 0.3 -79.6 8.1 18 0.3 36.0
Zinc 172.3 7 5.3 29.4 38.3 10 2.0 -77.8 103.3 8 3.7 169.5
Precious metals 1,189.5 n.a. 36.3 16.0 989.3 n.a. 50.9 -16.8 1,443.9 n.a. 52.1 46.0
Gold 1,005.3 1 30.7 16.6 911.2 1 46.9 -9.4 1,318.6 1 47.6 44.7
Platinum group 61.7 11 1.9 -26.5 40.3 9 2.1 -34.7 74.5 9 2.7 84.8
Silver 94.2 9 2.9 23.4 37.5 11 1.9 -60.1 49.0 11 1.8 30.6
Iron 222.9 5 6.8 87.9 61.4 7 3.2 -72.4 110.1 6 4.0 79.2
Uranium 406.9 2 12.4 -1.5 205.1 2 10.5 -49.6 190.4 4 6.9 -7.1
Other metals 193.3 n.a. 5.9 10.3 99.1 n.a. 5.1 -48.7 141.8 n.a. 5.1 43.1
Molybdenum 81.3 10 2.5 -10.5 19.2 13 1.0 -76.4 24.8 13 0.9 29.4
Cobalt 33.8 13 1.0 -12.1 10.3 15 0.5 -69.4 3.4 23 0.1 -66.6
Chromite 16.4 16 0.5 1,513.2 27.1 12 1.4 65.3 18.5 15 0.7 -31.6
Rare earths 12.4 17 0.4 318.0 12.6 14 0.6 1.2 42.4 12 1.5 237.3
Lithium 0.6 30 . . . 3.2 7.4 16 0.4 1,176.1 21.6 14 0.8 190.3
Nonmetals 182.6 n.a. 5.6 486.3 165.9 n.a. 8.5 -9.2 168.8 n.a. 6.1 1.8
Potash 159.7 8 4.9 795.9 155.6 3 8.0 -2.6 147.5 5 5.3 -5.2
Diamonds 220.5 6 6.7 -31.4 70.0 6 3.6 -68.3 106.8 7 3.9 52.7
Coal 51.9 12 1.6 52.1 57.1 8 2.9 9.9 58.1 10 2.1 1.9
Total 3,279.5 n.a. 100.0 15.8 1,944.4 n.a. 100.0 -40.7 2,771.9 n.a. 100.0 42.6

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
. . . Amount too small to be expressed; n.a. Not applicable.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Notes: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. Totals of commodity groups may not add to totals of the listed components as some unspecified amounts belonging to each commodity group have not been re-allocated to a specific commodity for this exercise.


Table 9a. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada,
(1) by Province and Territory and by Mineral Commodity, 2009
Province/Territory Metals Nonmetals Diamonds Coal Total
Base Precious Iron Uranium Other
($000)
Newfoundland and Labrador 21,584 4,286 15,334 9,817 253 3,616 54,890
Nova Scotia 1,606 3,961 395 69 2,973 9,003
New Brunswick 2,406 2,838 1 80 2,739 8,064
Quebec 59,326 230,890 14,353 48,303 15,569 1,164 9,743 379,348
Ontario 80,025 388,837 6,779 2,203 38,912 3,627 15,835 536,218
Manitoba 50,193 45,191 7 132 699 4 1,547 97,772
Saskatchewan 1,042 7,280 116,555 243 154,532 12,045 19,328 311,025
Alberta 319 300 329 82 102 714 6,476 8,322
British Columbia 50,993 115,080 1,900 170 20,342 2,017 26,648 217,148
Yukon 19,093 64,543 8 12 7,188 10 40 90,896
Northwest Territories 2,030 8,334 260 1,389 12,690 19,400 44,102
Nunavut 8,024 118,032 22,481 26,199 542 30 12,224 50 187,582
Total 296,640 989,272 61,424 205,056 99,088 165,865 69,964 57,062 1,944 370

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil.
(1) Includes on-mine-site plus off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


Table 9b. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada,
(1) by Province and Territory and by Mineral Commodity, 2010
Province/Territory Metals Nonmetals Diamonds Coal Total
Base Precious Iron Uranium Other
($000)
Newfoundland and Labrador 42,763 16,312 32,229 4,205 7,097 2,591 105,197
Nova Scotia 1,393 9,607 1,491 352 3,820 16,663
New Brunswick 9,669 3,953 20 16 3,281 206 17,146
Quebec 87,447 276,883 30,411 40,699 50,915 11,259 13,972 511,585
Ontario 134,373 663,559 1,133 619 24,336 2,685 26,716 853,422
Manitoba 54,561 27,191 20 506 433 7 823 83,541
Saskatchewan 6,586 8,183 112,182 1,221 146,906 18,900 5,382 299,361
Alberta 227 1,085 514 89 1,123 12,171 15,209
British Columbia 131,754 172,113 2,143 28,164 4,247 67 35,940 374,428
Yukon 47,715 101,273 69 7,838 156,895
Northwest Territories 15,902 27,424 68 16,398 21,935 81,726
Nunavut 19,557 137,387 43,010 32,590 55 27 24,124 256,749
Total 551,946 1,443 884 110,051 190,449 141,817 168,796 106,843 58,136 2,771 923

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil.
(1) Includes on-mine-site plus off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


Table 9c. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada,
(1) by Province and Territory and by Mineral Commodity, 2011
Province/Territory Metals Nonmetals Diamonds Coal Total
Base Precious Iron Uranium Other
($000)
Newfoundland and Labrador 39,480 37,256 55,471 6,986 11,308 4,528 155,029
Nova Scotia 2,900 9,020 1,782 2,478 3,200 19,380
New Brunswick 12,041 6,540 150 103 12,702 205 31,741
Quebec 108,279 358,214 100,953 31,369 80,603 17,271 21,001 717,691
Ontario 165,890 795,604 5,636 5,286 43,562 3,940 11,432 1,031 350
Manitoba 61,768 50,364 6 500 813 380 7 1,900 115,737
Saskatchewan 15,674 18,960 50 104,878 3,075 170,520 7,553 6,622 327,332
Alberta 1,250 3,000 1,462 6,659 100 17,035 29,506
British Columbia 200,046 244,207 2,762 52,038 6,936 83 71,218 577,291
Yukon 113,077 187,191 2,603 6,283 50 309,204
Northwest Territories 11,355 21,396 100 25,331 23,600 81,781
Nunavut 28,627 179,567 124,008 33,308 531 440 29,016 395,497
Total 760,387 1,908 319 292,037 185,133 239,489 213,408 92,791 99,975 3,791 538

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil.
(1) Includes on-mine-site plus off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Notes: Data for 2011 are revised spending intentions. Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


Table 10a. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada, (1) by Work Phase (off- and on-mine-site), by Type of Company and by Mineral Commodity, 2009
Work Phase/ Type of Company Base Metals Precious Metals Iron Uranium Other Metals Diamonds Nonmetals (2) Coal Total
($000)
Exploration, off-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 124,079 443,599 21,645 104,944 65,021 39,195 22,280 29,498 850,260
Senior companies 100,059 155,527 1,537 56,956 7,743 9,873 52,082 5,044 388,820
Total 224,138 599,126 23,181 161,900 72,763 49,067 74,362 34,543 1,239 081
Exploration, on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors
Senior companies 19,279 49,350 240 3,172 72,041
Total 19,279 49,350 240 3,172 72,041
Exploration, off- plus on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 124,079 443,599 21,645 104,944 65,021 39,195 22,280 29,498 850,260
Senior companies 119,338 204,877 1,537 56,956 7,983 13,045 52,082 5,044 460,861
Total 243,417 648,476 23,181 161,900 73,003 52,239 74,362 34,543 1,311 121
Deposit appraisal, off-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 21,286 113,384 35,659 15,317 12,503 8,549 41,686 12,020 260,405
Senior companies 14,726 125,227 27,839 11,015 2,175 49,778 9,492 240,253
Total 36,012 238,611 35,659 43,156 23,518 10,724 91,465 21,513 500,658
Deposit appraisal, on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors
Senior companies 17,210 102,186 2,583 2,567 7,000 38 1,007 132,591
Total 17,210 102,186 2,583 2,567 7,000 38 1,007 132,591
Deposit appraisal, off- plus on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 21,286 113,384 35,659 15,317 12,503 8,549 41,686 12,020 260,405
Senior companies 31,936 227,413 2,583 27,839 13,582 9,176 49,817 10,499 372,844
Total 53,222 340,797 38,242 43,156 26,085 17,724 91,503 22,519 633,249
Exploration plus deposit appraisal, off- plus on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 145,365 556,983 57,304 120,262 77,523 47,743 63,966 41,519 1,110 665
Senior companies 151,274 432,289 4,120 84,794 21,565 22,220 101,899 15,543 833,705
Total 296,640 989,272 61,424 205,056 99,088 69,964 165,865 57,062 1,944 370

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil.
(1) Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs. (2) Excluding diamonds.
Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


Table 10b. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada, (1) by Work Phase (off- and on-mine-site), by Type of Company and by Mineral Commodity, 2010
Work Phase/ Type of Company Base Metals Precious Metals Iron Uranium Other Metals Diamonds Nonmetals (2) Coal Total
($000)
Exploration, off-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 186,637 722,867 55,341 84,851 90,901 43,584 31,701 25,896 1,241 778
Senior companies 173,716 247,564 5,832 59,975 9,169 19,159 30,253 2,640 548,309
Total 360,353 970,431 61,174 144,827 100,070 62,744 61,954 28,536 1,790 087
Exploration, on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors
Senior companies 32,381 60,412 560 3,949 3,500 100,802
Total 32,381 60,412 560 3,949 3,500 100,802
Exploration, off- plus on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 186,637 722,867 55,341 84,851 90,901 43,584 31,701 25,896 1,241 778
Senior companies 206,097 307,976 5,832 59,975 9,729 23,109 30,253 6,140 649,111
Total 392,734 1,030 843 61,174 144,827 100,630 66,693 61,954 32,036 1,890 889
Deposit appraisal, off-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 72,877 90,940 31,685 19,220 26,692 29,433 20,434 13,985 305,267
Senior companies 59,002 241,700 8,104 19,257 14,495 10,474 86,408 10,415 449,856
Total 131,879 332,640 39,789 38,477 41,187 39,907 106,842 24,400 755,123
Deposit appraisal, on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors
Senior companies 27,334 80,401 9,088 7,145 243 1,700 125,911
Total 27,334 80,401 9,088 7,145 243 1,700 125,911
Deposit appraisal, off- plus on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 72,877 90,940 31,685 19,220 26,692 29,433 20,434 13,985 305,267
Senior companies 86,336 322,101 17,192 26,402 14,495 10,717 86,408 12,115 575,767
Total 159,213 413,042 48,877 45,622 41,187 40,151 106,842 26,100 881,034
Exploration plus deposit appraisal, off- plus on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 259,514 813,807 87,026 104,071 117,593 73,017 52,135 39,880 1,547 045
Senior companies 292,432 630,077 23,025 86,377 24,224 33,826 116,661 18,256 1,224 878
Total 551,946 1,443 884 110,051 190,449 141,817 106,843 168,796 58,136 2,771 923

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil.
(1) Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs. (2) Excluding diamonds.
Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


Table 11a. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada,
(1) by Province and Territory, by Work Phase, and by Type of Company, 2009
Province/Territory Exploration Deposit Appraisal Exploration and Deposit Appraisal
Junior Companies and Prospectors Senior Companies Total Junior Companies and Prospectors Senior Companies Total Junior Companies and Prospectors Senior Companies Total
($000)
Newfoundland and Labrador 23,242 11,605 34,847 12,072 7,970 20,043 35,315 19,575 54,890
Nova Scotia 3,542 1,226 4,768 700 3,535 4,235 4,242 4,762 9,003
New Brunswick 6,979 1,085 8,064 6,979 1,085 8,064
Quebec 177,307 46,146 223,454 26,553 129,342 155,895 203,860 175,488 379,348
Ontario 262,008 134,048 396,056 89,708 50,454 140,161 351,716 184,501 536,218
Manitoba 22,855 46,470 69,325 4,185 24,263 28,448 27,040 70,733 97,772
Saskatchewan 104,527 101,345 205,872 40,185 64,967 105,152 144,712 166,312 311,025
Alberta 1,719 4,017 5,736 80 2,507 2,587 1,799 6,523 8,322
British Columbia 145,953 20,734 166,686 34,274 16,188 50,462 180,227 36,922 217,148
Yukon 52,662 18,054 70,716 14,679 5,500 20,179 67,342 23,554 90,896
Northwest Territories 14,083 4,336 18,420 16,482 9,201 25,682 30,565 13,537 44,102
Nunavut 35,382 71,796 107,178 21,487 58,917 80,404 56,869 130,713 187,582
Total Canada 850,260 460,861 1,311 121 260,405 372,844 633,249 1,110 665 833,705 1,944 370

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


Table 11b. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada,
(1) by Province and Territory, by Work Phase, and by Type of Company, 2010
Province/Territory Exploration Deposit Appraisal Exploration and Deposit Appraisal
Junior Companies and Prospectors Senior Companies Total Junior Companies and Prospectors Senior Companies Total Junior Companies and Prospectors Senior Companies Total
($000)
Newfoundland and Labrador 43,922 15,954 59,876 7,529 37,793 45,322 51,450 53,747 105,197
Nova Scotia 6,840 4,421 11,261 133 5,269 5,402 6,973 9,690 16,663
New Brunswick 10,806 3,202 14,008 3,138 3,138 13,944 3,202 17,146
Quebec 220,854 112,487 333,341 53,302 124,942 178,245 274,156 237,429 511,585
Ontario 420,741 245,234 665,975 39,932 147,514 187,446 460,673 392,749 853,422
Manitoba 20,054 48,309 68,364 5,551 9,626 15,177 25,606 57,936 83,541
Saskatchewan 82,460 85,530 167,990 35,403 95,968 131,370 117,863 181,497 299,361
Alberta 3,032 4,895 7,927 7,282 7,282 3,032 12,177 15,209
British Columbia 202,006 36,811 238,818 81,687 53,924 135,610 283,693 90,735 374,428
Yukon 88,789 27,431 116,220 34,221 6,454 40,675 123,010 33,885 156,895
Northwest Territories 43,793 8,912 52,705 17,804 11,217 29,021 61,596 20,130 81,726
Nunavut 98,480 55,924 154,404 26,568 75,778 102,345 125,048 131,701 256,749
Total 1,241 778 649,111 1,890 889 305,267 575,767 881,034 1,547 045 1,224 878 2,771 923

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


Table 11c. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada, (1) by Province and Territory, by Work Phase, and by Type of Company, 2011
Province/Territory Exploration Deposit Appraisal Exploration and Deposit Appraisal
Junior Companies and Prospectors Senior Companies Total Junior Companies and Prospectors Senior Companies Total Junior Companies and Prospectors Senior Companies Total
($000)
Newfoundland and Labrador 85,018 38,652 123,670 6,015 25,344 31,359 91,033 63,996 155,029
Nova Scotia 8,415 4,465 12,880 6,500 6,500 8,415 10,965 19,380
New Brunswick 13,466 6,275 19,741 12,000 12,000 25,466 6,275 31,741
Quebec 345,129 144,266 489,395 70,074 158,221 228,295 415,203 302,487 717,691
Ontario 448,251 325,056 773,307 60,168 197,874 258,043 508,420 522,930 1,031 350
Manitoba 39,705 69,332 109,037 2,500 4,200 6,700 42,205 73,532 115,737
Saskatchewan 88,727 143,636 232,363 59,059 35,910 94,969 147,786 179,546 327,332
Alberta 12,358 4,349 16,706 12,800 12,800 12,358 17,149 29,506
British Columbia 258,010 121,355 379,365 89,600 108,326 197,926 347,610 229,681 577,291
Yukon 193,144 22,260 215,404 73,300 20,500 93,800 266,444 42,760 309,204
Northwest Territories 29,033 6,056 35,089 34,309 12,383 46,692 63,342 18,439 81,781
Nunavut 186,097 117,201 303,298 61,060 31,139 92,199 247,157 148,340 395,497
Total 1,707 353 1,002 902 2,710 255 468,086 613,197 1,081 283 2,175 439 1,616 099 3,791 538

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil.
(1) Includes on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities. Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Notes: Data for 2011 are revised spending intentions. Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


Table 12. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada,
(1) by Work Phase (on- and off-mine-site) and by Type of Company, 1997-2011
Year/Type of Company Exploration Deposit Appraisal Exploration and Deposit
Appraisal
Exploration and Deposit
Appraisal
On-Mine-Site Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Off-Mine-Site On- and Off-Mine-Site
($000)
1997
Junior n.a. 233,231 n.a. 64,730 n.a. 297,961 297,961
Senior 62,383 338,796 105,608 116,222 167,991 455,018 623,009
Total 62,383 572,027 105,608 180,951 167,991 752,979 920,970
1998
Junior n.a. 144,906 n.a. 25,573 n.a. 170,480 170,480
Senior 67,875 249,959 61,535 106,018 129,411 355,977 485,387
Total 67,875 394,865 61,535 131,591 129,411 526,456 655,867
1999
Junior n.a. 92,926 n.a. 48,498 n.a. 141,424 141,424
Senior 44,471 177,262 42,302 98,889 86,773 276,151 362,924
Total 44,471 270,188 42,302 147,386 86,773 417,575 504,348
2000
Junior n.a. 127,901 n.a. 28,109 n.a. 156,010 156,010
Senior 30,743 183,881 42,273 83,744 73,016 267,625 340,641
Total 30,743 311,782 42,273 111,853 73,016 423,635 496,651
2001
Junior n.a. 157,913 n.a. 19,820 n.a. 177,733 177,733
Senior 42,297 180,963 29,173 82,704 71,469 263,667 335,136
Total 42,297 338,876 29,173 102,524 71,469 441,400 512,869
2002
Junior n.a. 172,402 n.a. 18,391 n.a. 190,793 190,793
Senior 56,408 174,735 23,863 127,621 80,272 302,356 382,628
Total 56,408 347,137 23,863 146,012 80,272 493,149 573,421
2003
Junior n.a. 256,578 n.a. 27,110 n.a. 283,688 283,688
Senior 60,203 221,272 25,370 96,203 85,572 317,475 403,047
Total 60,203 477,850 25,370 123,313 85,572 601,163 686,735
2004
Junior n.a. 523,104 n.a. 76,614 n.a. 599,718 599,718
Senior 84,431 295,943 52,095 145,598 136,526 441,541 578,067
Total 84,431 819,047 52,095 222,212 136,526 1,041 259 1,177 785
2005
Junior n.a. 718,838 n.a. 82,449 n.a. 801,287 801,287
Senior 100,073 301,002 20,780 81,648 120,853 382,650 503,504
Total 100,073 1,019 840 20,780 164,097 120,853 1,183 937 1,304 790
2006
Junior n.a. 1,030 516 n.a. 207,514 n.a. 1,238 031 1,238 031
Senior 103,562 369,602 39,157 161,176 142,719 530,777 673,496
Total 103,562 1,400 118 39,157 368,690 142,719 1,768 808 1,911 527
2007
Junior n.a. 1,638 204 n.a. 266,159 n.a. 1,904 362 1,904 362
Senior 133,092 502,959 60,186 230,219 193,278 733,178 926,456
Total 133,092 2,141 163 60,186 496,378 193,278 2,637 541 2,830 819
2008
Junior n.a. 1,690 338 n.a. 427,475 n.a. 2,117 813 2,117 813
Senior 148,834 565,842 114,106 332,884 262,940 898,726 1,161 666
Total 148,834 2,256 181 114,106 760,359 262,940 3,016 539 3,279 479
2009
Junior n.a. 850,161 n.a. 260,405 n.a. 1,110 566 1,110 566
Senior 72,041 388,920 132,591 240,253 204,632 629,172 833,804
Total 72,041 1,239 081 132,591 500,658 204,632 1,739 738 1,944 370
2010
Junior n.a. 1,245 177 n.a. 311,945 n.a. 1,557 121 1,557 121
Senior 100,802 544,911 125,911 443,178 226,713 988,089 1,214 801
Total 100,802 1,790 087 125,911 755,123 226,713 2,545 210 2,771 923
2011
Junior n.a. 1,707 353 n.a. 468,086 n.a. 2,175 439 2,175 439
Senior 155,689 847,213 233,409 379,788 389,099 1,227 001 1,616 099
Total 155,689 2,554 566 233,409 847,873 389,099 3,402 439 3,791 538

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
n.a. Not applicable.
(1) Includes field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Note: Data for 2011 are revised spending intentions.


Table 13a. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada,
(1) by Province and Territory, and by Work Phase (off- and on-mine-site), 2009
Province/Territory Exploration Deposit Appraisal Exploration Plus Deposit Appraisal Total
Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site
($000)
Newfoundland and Labrador 34,103 744 12,072 7,970 46,175 8,715 54,890
Nova Scotia 4,768 4,235 9,003 9,003
New Brunswick 8,064 8,064 8,064
Quebec 213,707 9,747 100,192 55,703 313,899 65,450 379,348
Ontario 368,731 27,325 107,811 32,351 476,541 59,676 536,218
Manitoba 54,720 14,605 4,185 24,263 58,905 38,867 97,772
Saskatchewan 205,872 105,152 311,025 311,025
Alberta 5,736 1,580 1,007 7,316 1,007 8,322
British Columbia 160,459 6,227 50,462 210,921 6,227 217,148
Yukon 67,749 2,968 18,279 1,900 86,028 4,868 90,896
Northwest Territories 15,008 3,412 18,682 7,000 33,690 10,412 44,102
Nunavut 100,165 7,013 78,006 2,398 178,171 9,411 187,582
Total 1,239 081 72,041 500,658 132,591 1,739 738 204,632 1,944 370
Total off- plus on-mine-site 1,311 121 633,249 1,944 370 1,944 370

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil.
(1) Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures include costs incurred for field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


Table 13b. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada,
(1) by Province and Territory, and by Work Phase (off- and on-mine-site), 2010
Province/Territory Exploration Deposit Appraisal Exploration Plus Deposit Appraisal Total
Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site
($000)
Newfoundland and Labrador 58,101 1,775 33,183 12,139 91,283 13,914 105,197
Nova Scotia 11,261 5,402 16,663 16,663
New Brunswick 14,008 3,138 17,146 17,146
Quebec 321,016 12,325 155,159 23,086 476,174 35,411 511,585
Ontario 622,018 43,957 114,700 72,747 736,718 116,703 853,422
Manitoba 57,786 10,577 8,843 6,334 66,630 16,912 83,541
Saskatchewan 167,990 124,225 7,145 292,216 7,145 299,361
Alberta 4,427 3,500 5,582 1,700 10,009 5,200 15,209
British Columbia 228,753 10,064 135,610 364,364 10,064 374,428
Yukon 108,091 8,129 38,158 2,517 146,249 10,646 156,895
Northwest Territories 48,756 3,949 28,778 243 77,534 4,192 81,726
Nunavut 147,879 6,525 102,345 250,225 6,525 256,749
Total 1,790 087 100,802 755,123 125,911 2,545 210 226,713 2,771 923
Total off- plus on-mine-site 1,890 889 881,034 2,771 923 2,771 923

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil.
(1) Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures include costs incurred for field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


Table 13c. Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures in Canada,
(1) by Province and Territory, and by Work Phase (off- and on-mine-site), 2011
Province/Territory Exploration Deposit Appraisal Exploration Plus Deposit Appraisal Total
Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site
($000)
Newfoundland and Labrador 116,198 7,472 8,015 23,344 124,213 30,816 155,029
Nova Scotia 12,865 6,500 19,365 19,380
New Brunswick 19,741 12,000 31,741 31,741
Quebec 463,246 26,149 173,545 54,750 636,791 80,899 717,691
Ontario 706,154 67,154 141,020 117,023 847,174 184,176 1,031 350
Manitoba 88,737 20,300 2,500 4,200 91,237 24,500 115,737
Saskatchewan 230,363 91,469 3,500 321,832 5,500 327,332
Alberta 14,706 2,000 10,000 2,800 24,706 4,800 29,506
British Columbia 364,765 14,600 172,720 537,484 39,807 577,291
Yukon 210,404 5,000 91,800 2,000 302,204 7,000 309,204
Northwest Territories 35,089 46,106 586 81,195 586 81,781
Nunavut 292,298 11,000 92,199 384,497 11,000 395,497
Total 2,554 566 155,689 847,873 233,409 3,402 439 389,099 3,791 538
Total off- plus on-mine-site 2,710 255 1,081 283 3,791 538 3,791 538

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
– Nil.
(1) Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures include costs incurred for field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


Table 14. Number of Projects by Mineral Commodity in the On-
and Off-Mine-Site Deposit Appraisal Stage in Canada, 1997-2010
Year Precious Metals Base Metals Nonmetals Diamonds Others (1) Total Projects
(number)
1997 46 24 21 - 21 112
1998 32 24 20 - 20 96
1999 27 22 25 4 14 92
2000 32 21 18 5 10 86
2001 19 27 11 4 6 67
2002 19 21 11 6 13 70
2003 27 19 16 6 16 84
2004 26 15 18 5 14 78
2005 15 14 13 2 12 56
2006 17 16 9 3 21 66
2007 19 23 7 2 20 71
2008 22 19 12 1 20 74
2009 28 19 11 3 26 87
2010 30 21 7 4 30 92

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
- Nil.
(1) Includes iron, uranium, other metals, and coal.
Notes: In 2002 and 2003, the number of diamond projects included two separate projects at Ekati. Starting with 2004, classification criteria were strengthened making comparisons with previous years difficult.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2013