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2. Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal, and Mine Complex Development Activity in Canada


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Ginette Bouchard

The author is a senior mineral resource development analyst with the
Minerals and Metals Sector, Natural Resources Canada.
Telephone: 613-992-4665
E-mail: ginette.bouchard@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca

INTRODUCTION

The analysis presented herein is the result of the amalgamation of two articles: one from the Canadian Minerals Yearbook entitled “Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal, and Mine Complex Development Activity in Canada” and the other from the Overview of Trends in Canadian Mineral Exploration report entitled “Indicators of Mineral Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Activity in Canada.”

With respect to the above-mentioned documents, this chapter describes mineral resource development activities in Canada from an analytical standpoint that is based on data collected by the federal-provincial/territorial Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures. Data are from the 2008 survey exercise (final 2008 survey) and also cover, to some extent, 2009 (revised spending intentions for 2009). Through this survey, companies reported on a full spectrum of cost data and, when applicable, these statistics are analyzed in the context of the three work phases covered by the survey, namely: exploration, deposit appraisal, and mine complex development expenditures. The statistics include data on field work, overhead, engineering, economic and pre- or production feasibility studies, environment, and land access, along with associated capital,1  and repair and maintenance costs for construction, machinery, and equipment.

In order to better understand the Canadian mineral exploration industry, including its challenges and strategies, the adopted analytical approach is to drill down through results and trends from a total mineral resource development perspective 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 before a thorough review of the most important indicator of all: spending. The latter is covered separately and extensively up to the level of off-mine-site and on-mine-site location of activity. Unless otherwise specified, the results at this level are discussed without capital, and repair and maintenance costs. The reader should also note that historical comparisons are denominated in constant 2008 dollars to account for inflation.

SURVEY OF MINERAL EXPLORATION, DEPOSIT APPRAISAL AND MINE COMPLEX DEVELOPMENT EXPENDITURES

The statistics for the 2008 and 2009 analyses contained in this report were collected simultaneously through the annual federal-provincial-territorial Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures (the Survey). This survey was conducted primarily between January and June of 2009. Since the outlook for metal markets improved in the second half of 2009, after the Annual 2008/Revised Intentions 2009 survey was closed, the real impact of improving economic conditions on the 2009 level of expenditures is not yet known. Firmer results for 2009 (from the Preliminary 2009/Spending Intentions 2010 survey) will be released in March 2010.

A small-scale redesign of the Survey was implemented in the Preliminary 2008/Spending Intentions 2009 compilation. This minor redesign allows better reporting of mineral commodities sought and improved work phase validation. The impact of these changes will be briefly discussed in this chapter. More adjustments to the Survey are being considered to reflect the industry’s constant evolution and to improve the pertinence of the analysis.

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

Generalized Model of Mineral Resource Development

The definitions used in the Survey are based on the Generalized Model of Mineral Resource Development (the Model), which is available on the Internet at:

The Model is currently under review and an updated version should be available during 2010. The goal of this review is for the Model to present a better-integrated perspective of an exploration project evolving into a feasible mining project. Some of the new criteria developed through the review process have already been embedded in the survey definitions, and new questions on work objectives, technical studies, and National Instrument 43-101 (NI 43-101) compliant mineral resources are being tested to improve the accuracy of reporting and to further validate the Model.

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 accompanied by a positive scoping study (preliminary economic assessment) that justifies additional, more detailed, and costly deposit appraisal work.

The deposit appraisal work phase is defined as the steps undertaken to bring a delimited deposit, by definition drilling, comprehensive tests, and planning, 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.

A mining project is considered committed to production or migrating to the mine complex development work phase 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 either mine complex development, deposit appraisal, or exploration activity is based on distance criteria and their application is not always straightforward.

In some analyses, results are presented by company type. “Seniors” (senior companies) are 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.

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 duplication in reporting by project/property. Joint-venture or partnership details are collected to ensure proper follow-up and validation of such business agreements.

MINERAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

Total Investment

For the purpose of this analysis, total expenditures for all three work phases (mineral exploration, deposit appraisal, and mine complex development), inclusive of capital, and repair and maintenance costs, are called “total investment.” In 2008, statistics were compiled from 871 active companies/project operators, a slight decrease from the 884 recorded in 2007. These 871 project operators are responsible for an all-time record $12.7 billion in total investment, or a 21% increase over the 2007 high of $10.5 billion (Figure 2.1). As a result of the economic downturn, the number of active projects that were reported on in the 2009 Revised Intentions survey declined to 691. Although data for repair and maintenance costs will be collected in the next survey exercise, an estimate for this cost component, based on previous years’ reports, indicates that the 2009 total will not likely exceed the $10 billion mark.

 

figure 2.1

In 2008, the shares of each main component of total investment (Figure 2.1 and Table 2.1) consisted of 47% for all capital costs (including an 8% or $471 million share for such costs in the exploration and deposit appraisal work phases), 26% for exploration and deposit appraisal projects, 14% for repair and maintenance, and 13% for mine complex development. A rough estimation for 2009 results in spending shares of 47% for capital, 20% for exploration and deposit appraisal, 17% for repair and maintenance, and 16% for mine complex development.

Property Distribution

The Survey collects information that is supplied on properties by project operators. Properties can be the object of activities at more than one work phase. As such, the record total investment of $12.7 billion from 871 active project operators recorded in 2008 came from more than 3000 properties across Canada. At lease 2700 of these properties were in the exploration stage, 93 were in deposit appraisal, 168 were in mine complex development, and 12 were mills and plants.

Highlighting the importance of senior companies in terms of mine complex development, capital, and repair costs in total investment, 637 projects (414 at the exploration stage, 55 at the deposit appraisal stage, and 168 at the mine complex development stage) were managed by 154 senior companies, which represented only 20% of all properties but accounted for 81% of total investment.

Expenditure Fluctuations

A comparison with 2007 numbers reveals that 68% of the $2.2 billion investment increase in 2008 can be attributed to capital costs for structures, machinery and equipment (in all work phases), 21% for exploration and deposit appraisal activity, and 16% for mine complex development work. Repair and maintenance costs decreased by 5%.

By comparing the 2009 total of $7.5 billion with the 2008 total of $10.9 billion on the same basis (excluding repair and maintenance), it was found that total capital costs are responsible for 49% of the decrease in 2009, while exploration and deposit appraisal activity accounted for 42% and mine complex development work accounted for 9% (Figure 2.1 and Table 2.1). New mining projects under construction and mine expansions, for which expenditures are included under the capital and mine complex development categories, are 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 chapter.

Project-Specific Impacts

A total of 19 new mining projects entered the mine complex development work phase in 2008. They consisted of eight base-metal (seven nickel and one copper-gold), four gold, three coal, one antimony, one iron, one potash, and one dolomite project. In 2009, only six projects were expected to make that transition. They consisted of three gold, one silver, one copper, and one magnetite project. In 2008, six mines were removed from this work phase while, in 2009, fourteen were removed or were inactive, including five newly committed to production in 2008. The fourteen projects consisted of eight base-metal, three precious-metal, one molybdenum, one antimony, and one coal project.

Of the nineteen new projects committed to production in 2008, six represented investments of $100 million or more each, for a total contribution of $1.5 billion. They consisted of Nickel Rim South (nickel-PGM) in Ontario, New Afton (copper-gold) in British Columbia, Meadowbank (gold) in Nunavut, Picadilly (potash) in New Brunswick, Lac Bloom (iron ore) in Quebec, and Nunavik (nickel-copper-PGM) in Quebec.

Existing projects also continued to show important levels of investment. Among the most significant were the Rocanville, Cory, and Lanigan potash mines of PCS Inc. in Saskatchewan and the Esterhazy and Colonsay potash mines of The Mosaic Company, also in Saskatchewan. Expansions at some of these operations and at Agrium Ltd.’s Vanscoy potash mine were expected to continue in 2009.

Contrary to the strong investment in potash facilities, construction was winding down at the Snap Lake (Northwest Territories), Ekati (Northwest Territories), and Victor (Ontario) diamond mines, while Diavik’s underground mine continued to unfold in 2009, although at a slower pace. Overall, a total decrease of about $1 billion was recorded for the diamond mines in 2008.

In 2008, construction expenditures at the Endako molybdenum mine in British Columbia somewhat compensated for the drop in investment resulting from the suspension of the Galore Creek (copper-gold) mining project in the same province. Other major investments were made at the Luce mine (iron ore) at Carol Lake in Labrador and at the Highvale mine (coal) in Alberta.

Overall, total investment in each mineral commodity group increased (except for diamonds, which recorded a drop of 50%) (Figure 2.2). Investment more than doubled in the nonmetals and iron categories and, not surprisingly, these two commodity groups recorded the largest total investment increases in 2008.

Regional Trends

Saskatchewan climbed from fourth place in 2007 to first place in 2008 with $2.4 billion in total investment (Figure 2.3), surpassing Ontario for the first time ever. In 2009, Saskatchewan is expected to maintain its top total investment ranking with $2.6 billion (including estimated repair and maintenance costs of $234 million), its highest level since 1997. Ontario will remain in second place despite a significant drop in expenditures. British Columbia and Quebec were the third and fourth top jurisdictions in 2008. Quebec is expected to surpass British Columbia in 2009. The Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Nova Scotia are the only jurisdictions with expenditure decreases in 2008. Along with Saskatchewan, the Yukon and Nova Scotia are the only other jurisdictions expected to have investment increases in 2009.

 

figure 2.2

 

figure 2.3

Saskatchewan’s rise is related to increases in total investment for potash. The strong demand for potash caused the potash price to peak in 2008. In fact, an average price of $576 per tonne was recorded for that mineral commodity, compared to $190 per tonne in 2007 (Table 2.2). Furthermore, the impact of a 10-year tax holiday on potash mine expansions, introduced in 2005 to increase potash mine capacity, has certainly encouraged expansion at existing operations. At the other end of the spectrum, decreased diamond activity resulted in the Northwest Territories recording the largest total investment decrease of all Canadian jurisdictions in 2008.

Exploration and Deposit Appraisal

One of the objectives of this chapter 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 investment.

Activity Drivers - Prices

Exploration and deposit appraisal intensity is influenced by several drivers. The main driver is certainly the price outlook. In recent years, emerging economies, especially China, put upward pressure on mineral commodity demand, driving prices up for a number of key commodities. For most commodities, prices peaked in 2007 (average yearly price), except for platinum, iron ore, coal, and potash, which continued to increase in 2008. Thriving in times of economic uncertainty as prices for other products weakened, the price of gold was still rising at the time of writing this chapter (Table 2.2).

A major impact of rising prices up to the end of 2006/early 2007 on exploration and deposit appraisal activity was a renewed interest in previously marginal or sub-economic former deposits or mining camps. At least 130 of the reported projects in 2008 were related to former mines. Companies were quickly re-evaluating the most promising deposits by updating or initiating scoping and pre-feasibility studies, and by reviewing and upgrading historical mineral resource inventories to NI 43-101 compliance standards. 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 (especially those managed by junior companies) and mine expansions, where possible, were initiated in an effort to take advantage of high commodity prices.

Activity Drivers - Financing

Despite the global credit crunch that began back in August 2007 with the U.S. mortgage crisis and the subsequent international financial crisis that developed during 2008, financing was still available for most of the year and company budgets were secured for the field season. Consequently, exploration and deposit appraisal spending reached a peak of $3.3 billion in 2008 (Table 2.3).

However, access to financing quickly deteriorated near the end of 2008. Companies started to rationalize their business activities, postponed costly project development, and kept exploration work to a minimum in the hope of surviving the downturn and retaining financial and property assets for the next economic upturn. As a result, total exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures are expected to decline by a dramatic 44% in 2009 to $1.8 billion. While this amount is significantly lower than the 2008 total, it is still comparable to the $2 billion (constant 2008 dollars) achieved in 2006 and is far from the low of $615 million recorded in 2000. Based on improved access to financing and continued interest in gold and some other commodities, exploration appeared to be picking up somewhat at the end of 2009. It is also expected that some companies will be reluctant to release their exploration budget forecast for 2010 given the economic uncertainty.

The availability of generous tax incentives has also been singled out as a successful contributor to the financing activities of the Canadian mineral exploration industry. 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), are designed to support the junior exploration sector.

The METC, which has been extended five times since its inception in October 2000, is slated to expire on March 31, 2010. It has been estimated by Gamah International Ltd.2  that from its inception to December 31, 2008, a total of $3.9 billion had been raised via the FTS mechanism to finance mineral exploration in Canada (Table 1.1 in Chapter 1). While existing tax rules do not allow a full, direct correlation between FTS financing and spending, the former peaked at $1.1 billion in 2007 at the same time that junior company spending peaked at $2.0 billion (constant 2008 dollars) (Figure 2.4 and Table 2.3). Total FTS financing was down to $625 million in 2008 while junior company spending grew by a further $138 million. FTS financing slowed down considerably in 2009 with only $296 million in funds being raised during the first 10 months of the year.

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’s Eagle One (nickel) and Blackbird (chromite) discoveries in Ontario, and the Eleonore gold deposit in Quebec.

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.

 

figure 2.4

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 reader can find more information on the different mining rights regimes across Canada at www.mndm.gov.on.ca/mines/lands/provter/default_e.asp.

The area of new claims staked or recorded peaked at 26.9 million hectares (Mha) in 2007 and decreased by almost 30% to 19.0 Mha in 2008 (Figure 2.5a and Table 2.4). Apart from Alberta (+44%) and New Brunswick (+858%), the area of new claims recorded decreased in all other jurisdictions in 2008. The very large increase in New Brunswick was induced by the November 2008 implementation of the new map-staking system following a five-month moratorium on staking. The strongest proportional decreases were in Saskatchewan (-67%), Quebec (-63%), and the Northwest Territories (-61%). But, in terms of actual hectares, Quebec (-3.1 Mha), Saskatchewan (-2.5 Mha), and British Columbia (-1.4 Mha) accounted for 70% of the total decreases. Altogether, British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta, and Saskatchewan accounted for over 70% of all new claims staked or recorded in Canada in 2008.

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 2008 remained unchanged at 7.9% compared to 2007 (Table 2.4). Overall, the total amount of claims in good standing decreased slightly in 2008 (-1%), but not by enough to make a difference in the total land mass available for exploration and deposit appraisal activity. The leading jurisdictions in terms of the share of their land mass covered by claims in good standing were Alberta (18.0%), British Columbia (16.3%), and Saskatchewan (16.2%). In terms of total hectares covered, the leaders were British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

 

figure 5ab

Although the total area of claims in good standing remained relatively unchanged (78.4 Mha in 2008 versus 79.0 Mha in 2007), important variations occurred on a regional basis. For instance, decreases totaling 4.9 Mha were recorded in Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Manitoba, and Newfoundland and Labrador. In contrast, increases totaling 4.2 Mha were recorded in British Columbia, Ontario, the Yukon, Quebec, Alberta, Nunavut, and New Brunswick.

These regional increases in the area of claims in good standing indicate that some of the increased spending recorded in 2008 was incurred on new ground and that exploration and mining companies had decided that their new properties warranted further investigation. This was the case for Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and Nunavut, which all experienced increases in both expenditures and area of claims in good standing during that year. Although expenditures increased in Saskatchewan, no correlation with the area of claims in good standing is evident from Table 2.4 because potash is excluded from the compilation of claims. In 2005, a 20-plus-year hiatus from potash exploration in Saskatchewan ended, and potash dispositions (not displayed in Table 2.4) have grown since then, reaching a peak of 4.5 Mha in 2008.

Activity Indicators – Drilling

An historic compilation of surface diamond drilling statistics provides a good indication of the intensity of exploration and deposit appraisal activity. 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 47% of total exploration and deposit appraisal spending in 2008 (Table 2.5). On its own, surface diamond drilling represented 41% of the total spending and amounted to 6.2 million metres, or 87% of all metres drilled in 2008. This 6.2 million metres drilled represents an 11% increase over 2007 when 5.6 million metres were recorded, and also sets a record for the 1985-2008 statistical series (Figure 2.5b).

With respect to surface diamond drilling, the importance of junior companies is even more pronounced than it is on an expenditure basis. In 2008, junior companies accounted for 71% of all surface diamond drilling while the senior companies’ share was only 29%.

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 calculated cost per metre incurred by the company (inclusive of all other related costs such as drill mobilization, site preparation, and assaying) increased to over $200 per metre in 2007 and reached $215 per metre in 2008 (Figure 2.5b). Not surprisingly, costs can vary by region and type of mineral commodity drilled, but that level of detailed analysis is beyond the scope of this chapter.

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 region.

EXPENDITURES – OVERVIEW

Exploration and deposit appraisal spending reached a record $3.3 billion in 2008, shattering the previous year’s record of $2.8 billion with a 16% increase in expenditures (Table 2.1). In Canada’s mining history, the only other time that spending exceeded the $2 billion mark (in constant 2008 dollars) was in 1987 and 1988 during the heyday of the Mining Exploration Depletion Allowance (Figure 6.1 in Chapter 6). When associated capital and repair and maintenance costs are included, total exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures reached $3.8 billion in 2008, a 30% share of total investment and a 13% increase over the $3.3 billion recorded in 2007 (Table 6.1 in Chapter 6). This total represents another record high when compared to similar data in the 1997-2008 statistical series (Table 2.3).

Revised spending intentions for 2009 indicate a dramatic decline of some 44% as exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures are expected to drop to $1.8 billion. Brought on by the economic crisis, this reduced spending has interrupted a record-breaking trend of eight consecutive years of increasing expenditures (since 2001). Reflecting the uncertain economic times, a number of companies (mainly junior companies) that reported expenditures for 2008 did not have their budgets available for the 2009 survey. These companies’ expenditures, if any at all, will be captured in the Preliminary 2009/Spending Intentions 2010 survey compilation.

EXPENDITURES – BY TYPE OF COMPANY

It is noteworthy that the total expenditure increase in 2008 is a result of higher spending by company as opposed to an increase in the number of companies. The total number of active companies, excluding prospectors, decreased in 2008 compared to 2007 (822 compared to 842), but the number of companies spending over $10 million increased from 65 to a high of 78 in 2008, accounting for 59% of total expenditures, compared to 53% in 2007 (Table 2.6). This number has increased steadily since 2003. Similarly, the number of companies spending in the $1 million-$5 million range has also increased. This spending interval has become, since 2005, the dominant range in terms of the number of companies. However, their share of total expenditures has remained at about 25% through the years. Altogether, companies spending over $1 million contributed 97% of the total exploration and deposit appraisal spending in 2008, compared to 95% in 2007 and the 94% expected for 2009.

In recent years, junior companies have funded a greater proportion of Canada’s exploration effort. Total expenditures by junior project operators continued to climb from $182 million in 1999 (438 junior project operators) to a record high of $2.1 billion in 2008 (716 junior project operators). In 2007, a total of $2 billion was reported by 708 junior project operators. Junior companies contributed less than half of the total $449 million increase in 2008. In comparison, the juniors contributed 73% of the total $919 million increase recorded in 2007. In 2009, 548 junior project operators are expected to account for 76% (or $1.1 billion) of the total expected decrease of $1.4 billion. The effects of the deteriorating economic situation were noticeable in the 2009 survey results as more junior companies were reporting in lower ranges of spending such as in the $500 000-$1 million and $200 000-$500 000 intervals (Table 2.3).

Junior companies have outspent senior companies since 2004. In fact, they have accounted for over 60% of total annual expenditures from 2005 to 2008. Their proportion of total spending is expected to decline to 56% in 2009.

It is important to remember that a change in company classification or the upgrading of an advanced exploration or deposit appraisal project to the mine complex development work phase can affect the breakdown of expenditures by company type.

In 2008, the growth experienced by juniors was the result of both spending increases by existing companies and the addition of new companies. These new companies accounted for about $62 million in spending. In addition, the reclassification of a senior company resulted in some $19 million being reallocated to junior spending. On the other hand, eight projects previously managed by junior companies (including four at about $10 million each) entered the mine complex development phase in 2008. These projects accounted for $93 million in spending during 2007. A senior company also took over a junior company with significant spending of around $60 million in 2008. Overall, these adjustments contributed to slower growth in junior company spending in 2008.

In 2009, exploration and deposit appraisal spending will be affected by three important changes in the work phase classification of projects managed by junior companies, namely Osisko Exploration Ltd., Similco Mines Ltd., and Alexco Resource Corp. These projects are expected to enter the mine complex development work phase and therefore will not be counted as junior company projects in the 2009 Revised Intentions survey.

EXPENDITURES – BY MINERAL COMMODITY GROUP

The leading commodity groups in 2008, in decreasing order of expenditure, were precious metals, base metals, and uranium (Figure 2.6). These three commodity groups accounted for 74% of total exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures. This distribution mirrored that of 2007, both in terms of commodity groups and proportion of total spending. Major proportional increases were recorded for the nonmetals (+468%), including an even more spectacular rise for potash (+797%), followed by iron ore (+89%), coal (+52%), base metals (+18%), including a 63% rise for nickel, and precious metals (+13%), including a 23% increase for silver. As discussed in Chapter 1, these increases were based on the favourable price outlook that had existed in 2007 when 2008 exploration budgets were being prepared. In dollar terms, nonmetals, base metals, and precious metals accounted for $415 million of the $552 million net increase in spending from 2007 to 2008. Uranium, while still showing strong results, experienced a slight 1% decrease while diamonds experienced a 31% decrease for a combined spending reduction of $104 million (Table 2.7).

In 2009, expenditures are expected to decrease for all commodity groups except coal (+6%) and nonmetals (+43%) (Tables 2.8 and 2.9). In dollar terms, the bulk of the decrease should come from base metals (-$524 million), precious metals (-$375 million), uranium (-$203 million), and iron ore (-$160 million). These four commodity groups should account for 88% of the $1.4 billion decrease in spending in 2009. Total expenditures for diamonds are expected to decline by a further 70% to reach a low of $67 million, the lowest level since 1992 when the Ekati diamond mine was discovered, fueling diamond exploration in subsequent years (Figure 6.2 in Chapter 6). In its peak years, diamonds contributed up to 28% (2001) of total expenditures in Canada. In 2008, the contribution by diamonds dropped to 7% and will probably drop below 4% in 2009.

 

figure 2.6

The mineral commodity analysis presented in this chapter is based on primary mineral commodity sought information supplied by survey respondents. However, the 2008 survey redesign has introduced the possibility of also collecting information on secondary (accessory) commodities. More details will be presented in the next issue of this publication, but a small example, using the up-and-coming rare earth elements (REE), shows the usefulness of such data. In 2008, about $16 million was spent across Canada by 11 project operators (3 of which reported their rare earths spending in the secondary commodity category) at 18 different projects. Given the increasing strategic importance of such minerals, it can be expected that expenditures for that previously unrecorded secondary commodity group will grow substantially in 2010.

A look at total metres drilled (diamond drilling and other types of drilling) by commodity group reveals that the majority of surface drilling (76%, or 4.8 million of 6.3 million metres) was associated with base- and precious-metal projects. Surface drilling for precious metals increased by 15% in 2008 and accounted for 50% of all surface drilling. Surface drilling for base metals, however, decreased by almost 5% and represented 25% of the total. The opposite was observed for underground drilling as precious metals accounted for 26% less metres drilled than in the previous year and base metals saw their total increase by 51% (Table 2.10).

Spending by type of company and commodity group indicates that, in 2008, junior companies focused on the same commodity targets as in the previous year (precious metals, base metals, and uranium). As far as the senior companies are concerned, they still focused on precious and base metals, but replaced diamonds with the “others” group of commodities (mainly nonmetals) (Figure 2.7 and Table 2.11).

Increases were recorded in each commodity group for the juniors, except for uranium and diamonds, while, for the seniors, only diamond-related expenditures decreased. The strongest increases in dollar terms for junior companies were for precious metals (+$106 million) and iron ore (+$98 million). Meanwhile, senior companies increased their spending on base metals by $115 million and on the “others” group (mainly nonmetals) by $105 million. Iron ore and potash were the emerging commodities of interest for both groups of companies in 2008.

 

figure 2.7

EXPENDITURES – BY REGION

Total exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures increased in half of the Canadian mining jurisdictions in 2008. In percentage terms, these increases were recorded in Alberta (+75%), Manitoba (+48%), Ontario (+39%), Saskatchewan (+37%), Nunavut (+28%), and Quebec (+10%), together accounting for a $547 million increase in spending. In dollar terms, Ontario (+$228 million) and Saskatchewan (+$117 million) accounted for 63% of these increases. The remaining provinces and territories accounted for a total decrease of $98 million, mainly in the Northwest Territories and British Columbia (Table 2.8).

In terms of total spending, the leading jurisdictions in 2008 were Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Nunavut, and Saskatchewan. Together these jurisdictions accounted for 80% of all exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures. In 2005 and 2006, British Columbia ranked second to Ontario, while Quebec placed second in 2007 and 2008 (Figure 2.8).

In 2009, all mining provinces and territories are expected to experience a decrease in total exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures. Declines exceeding $200 million are expected in each of Quebec, Nunavut, British Columbia, and Ontario. These four jurisdictions will in fact account for 70% of the total anticipated $1.4 billion decrease. The leading jurisdictions in terms of spending are expected to be Ontario, Saskatchewan, Quebec, British Columbia, and Nunavut (Table 2.9). Saskatchewan will be well served by a sustained interest in potash.

As mentioned earlier, on a national basis, junior company spending overtook that of the senior companies in recent years. This was also the case on a provincial/territorial basis in 2008, except in Nova Scotia. In 2009, senior companies are expected to regain first place in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Nunavut. In Manitoba and Nunavut, this turnaround is predicated on a larger decrease in junior spending than senior spending. In Saskatchewan, sustained interest in potash projects (especially those of senior companies) should boost senior spending (Figure 2.9 and Tables 2.12 and 2.13).

 

figure 2.8

EXPENDITURES – BY WORK PHASE

This section explains the main expenditure fluctuations and highlights some of the projects or events responsible for the trends already discussed. To do this, expenditures are broken down by work phase and sub-work phase (on- vs. off-mine-site). The work phases (exploration, deposit appraisal, and mine complex development) are based on the previously mentioned Generalized Model of Mineral Resource Development.

One way to visualize the differences between work phases is to look at the type of activity undertaken in each one. The exploration work phase goes from grassroots exploration to the completion of a preliminary scoping study or preliminary economic assessment, demonstrating the basic economics of the deposit. In order to investigate a deposit, companies rely on an array of tools and studies (Figure 2.10). For example, the main activities conducted in the exploration phase are surface drilling (52% of all expenses in that work phase) and geoscientific surveys (22%).

As projects enter and progress through the deposit appraisal phase, other evaluation tools, such as technical studies, gain in importance. Costs, such as those for engineering, economic, and pre- or production feasibility studies, become more predominant (22%, compared to 3% in the exploration phase). Rock work (underground work to access mineralized zones, define a deposit and its internal characteristics, and gain access to ore and prepare it for production) also gains in importance as the project progresses through the different work phases, accounting for 3% of the exploration phase, 18% of the deposit appraisal phase, and 58% of the mine complex development work phase.

In 2008, for the first time since the data series was initiated in 1997, deposit appraisal expenditures increased more, in monetary terms, than exploration expenditures. This stronger commitment to deposit appraisal may reflect the fact that a number of projects were progressing along the mineral development curve during the record spending period of 2007 and 2008.

 

figure 2.9

 

figure 2.10

As projects migrate from exploration to the deposit appraisal phase, their number diminishes and their costs increase. In fact, of a total 74 off-mine-site deposit appraisal projects in 2008 (Table 2.14), 55 projects accounted for $756 million, or 23% of all exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures in Canada in 2008. Considering that there are about 3000 active projects in Canada, these 55 projects are certainly some of the most promising in terms of future mineral production in Canada. Other critical projects, in terms of investment and potential for future development, are those waiting on the outcome of scoping studies before entering the deposit appraisal work phase.

New projects entering the deposit appraisal phase or existing mining projects entering the mine complex development work phase can be important contributors to yearly expenditure fluctuations. Furthermore, not all off-mine-site deposit appraisal projects will become successful mining projects. Factors that may affect the evolution of a project, either positively or negatively, can include the permitting process, metallugical and engineering problems, insufficient economic resources and ore reserves to sustain higher production costs, fluctuating metal markets, access to financing, mergers and acquisitions, etc. As a result, projects can be cancelled, delayed, sent back to earlier work phases, or accelerated towards the production stage.

For example, 22 projects that were classified under the off-mine-site deposit appraisal work phase in 2007 exited this category in 2008. Among them, 13 entered the mine complex development work phase, 5 went back to the exploration work phase, and 4 became inactive. In 2009, 26 off-mine-site deposit appraisal projects that were active in 2008 were reclassified. Only 4 of them entered the mine complex development work phase. Projects entering or re-entering the deposit appraisal phase numbered 30 in 2008 and 28 in 2009.

Another observation from this recent period of growth is the importance of off-mine-site spending as opposed to on-mine-site spending. In 2008, off-mine-site exploration ($2.3 billion) represented 94% of all exploration expenditures while off-mine-site deposit appraisal ($760 million) represented 87% of all deposit appraisal expenditures (Figure 2.11 and Table 2.15).

 

figure 2.11

In terms of off-mine-site exploration, the leading jurisdictions were Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, while for off-mine-site deposit appraisal the leaders were Nunavut, Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. The bulk of the $287 million increase in 2008 off-mine-site exploration belonged to Ontario (+$160 million), Saskatchewan (+$48 million), and Manitoba (+$33 million). Decreases totaling $171 million were recorded in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Nunavut (+$182 million) and Saskatchewan (+$69 million) were mainly responsible for the $309 million increase in off-mine-site deposit appraisal expenditures. Off-mine-site deposit appraisal decreases in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Alberta amounted to $45 million (Table 2.16).

For 2009, decreases in off-mine-site exploration expenditures ranging between 30% and 80% should be recorded in all Canadian mining jurisdictions. In dollar terms, Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario are expected to account for 53% of the $1.1 billion decline. In the deposit appraisal work phase, decreases totaling $343 million are expected in six jurisdictions with Nunavut recording the most severe decline ($185 million). Among the provinces/territories where this type of spending is expected to increase (by a total of $74 million), Saskatchewan stands out with a $60 million gain (Table 2.17).

The most significant reason for major variations in expenditures in work phases in 2008 was the number of projects leaving the off-mine-site exploration work phase for the deposit appraisal work phase, plus some new projects re-entering this phase. Some major spending fluctuations at existing projects were also noted. Significant projects in the deposit appraisal phase in 2008 included the Meliadine West and Hackett River precious-metal projects in Nunavut, Canadian Malarctic in Quebec, Young Davidson in Ontario, and Bingo in Saskatchewan. Two potash projects (Jansen and Legacy) had a significant impact on expenditures in Saskatchewan. Significant base-metal projects included: Izok Lake in Nunavut; Schaft Creek, Copper Mountain, and Galore Creek in British Columbia; and Minago in Manitoba. Furthermore, Nunavut was the site of costly pre-production work at the Mary River iron ore project, and project re-evaluation and infrastucture access work at the Hope Bay gold project.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

Despite facing deteriorating economic conditions, the Canadian mineral exploration and resource development industry had a good year in 2008 as total mineral resource development investment reached a record high $12.7 billion, up 21% over the $10.5 billion reported in 2007. The portion of this total dedicated to exploration and deposit appraisal activity amounted to $3.3 billion (26% of the total), or $3.8 billion (30%) when capital, and repair and maintenance costs are included.

Financing raised in 2007 and the earlier part of 2008, on the strength of a then favourable minerals and metals price outlook, provided the necessary impetus to keep the upward exploration and deposit appraisal spending trend alive for one final year. However, commodity prices, with the notable exception of gold, were battered in 2009 and both debt and equity financing became extremely difficult to obtain. As a result, exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures were expected to decrease to $1.8 billion, a 44% drop compared to 2008. While this $1.8 billion total represented a major year-on-year decline in activity, it remained quite strong on an historical basis.

Towards the end of the eight-year upward trend in spending that began in 2001, companies were working feverishly to advance their projects along the mine development curve. In 2008, 19 projects entered the mine complex development work phase and 50 new or re-emerging projects became part of a deposit appraisal program. These movements among the different work phases, along with larger budgets at existing projects, contributed to a $760 million peak in off-mine-site deposit appraisal expenditures.

Junior companies continue to account for a large share of the spending. In 2008, their expenditures exceeded the $2 billion mark. While junior companies have clearly been assuming a greater share of the risk and responsibility of discovering, investigating, and developing mineral resources in Canada, senior companies have started to become more active. In 2008, their investments in exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures surpassed the $1 billion mark for the first time since the 1987-88 peak period.

In 2008, the exploration and deposit appraisal effort continued to be focused primarily on precious metals, base metals, and uranium. Iron and nonmetals (mainly potash) were emerging commodities of interest.

Forecasting 2010 expenditures is a challenge given the prevailing economic uncertainty. However, at the start of the year, continued strength in the price of gold, the world’s growing demand for uranium and rare earth metals, and investments by state agencies and large corporations attempting to alleviate security of supply concerns appeared to be the key factors. Overall, 2010 spending could be similar to that recorded in 2009.

ENDNOTES

1 Does not include capital costs incurred for quarries, sand and gravel, and petroleum. Back

2 Gamah International Limited, Mining & Exploration Company Financings (MECO), November 2009. Back

Note: Information in this chapter was current as of December 2009.

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.


 

TABLE 2.1. TOTAL MINERAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT IN CANADA, BY WORK PHASE, ON- AND OFF-MINE-SITE, 2007-09
Expenditure Category by Work Phase 2007 2008 2009
Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Total Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Total Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Total
($ millions) (%) ($ millions) (%) ($ millions) ($ millions) (%) ($ millions) (%) ($ millions) ($ millions) (%) ($ millions) (%) ($ millions)
EXPLORATION
Field work and overhead (1) 2 016.4 94.0 127.8 6.0 2 144.2 2 138.0 93.6 145.4 6.4 2 283.3 . . . . . . . . . .
Engineering studies 61.1 96.6 2.1 3.4 63.3 22.0 99.7 0.1 0.3 22.0 . . . . . . . . . .
Economic and pre-feasibility studies 22.1 91.7 2.0 8.3 24.1 53.7 94.9 2.9 5.1 56.6 . . . . . . . . . .
Environment 35.2 96.7 1.2 3.3 36.4 36.0 98.8 0.4 1.2 36.4 . . . . . . . . . .
Land access 6.3 100.0 6.3 6.6 99.2 0.1 0.8 6.6 . . . . . . . . . .
Subtotal 2 141.2 94.1 133.1 5.9 2 274.3 2 256.2 93.8 148.8 6.2 2 405.0 1 136.6 90.4 121.3 9.6 1 258.0
Capital (2) 46.9 66.3 23.9 33.7 70.8 46.5 85.1 8.1 14.9 54.6 4.7 80.2 1.2 19.8 5.8
Repair and maintenance (2) 4.7 57.2 3.5 42.8 8.2 4.0 100.0 4.0 . . . . . . . . . .
Total 2 192.8 93.2 160.5 6.8 2 353.2 2 306.6 93.6 157.0 6.4 2 463.6 1 141.3 90.3 122.5 9.7 1 263.8
DEPOSIT APPRAISAL
Field work and overhead 329.6 87.5 47.2 15.3 376.8 501.3 83.1 101.8 16.9 603.1 . . . . . . . . . .
Engineering studies 67.7 93.7 4.5 2.6 72.3 105.9 98.0 2.2 2.0 108.0 . . . . . . . . . .
Economic, and pre- or
production feasibility studies
42.0 85.1 7.3 0.7 49.3 80.3 92.2 6.7 7.8 87.1 . . . . . . . . . .
Environment 52.7 98.0 1.1 2.6 53.8 65.9 95.1 3.4 4.9 69.3 . . . . . . . . . .
Land access 4.4 100.0 . . . . . . 4.4 7.0 100.0 7.0 . . . . . . . . . .
Subtotal 496.4 89.2 60.2 10.8 556.6 760.4 87.0 114.1 13.0 874.5 491.8 84.5 90.0 15.5 581.7
Capital (2) 401.6 97.6 9.9 2.4 411.4 399.8 96.1 16.1 3.9 415.9 110.8 40.5 162.6 59.5 273.4
Repair and maintenance (2) 13.1 100.0 13.1 6.9 86.3 1.1 13.7 8.0 . . . . . . . . . .
Total 911.0 92.9 70.1 7.1 981.1 1 167.1 89.9 131.3 10.1 1 298.4 602.6 70.5 252.5 29.5 855.1
EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL
Field work and overhead 2 346.0 93.1 175.0 6.9 2 521.0 2 639.2 91.4 247.2 8.6 2 886.4 . . . . . . . . . .
Engineering studies 128.9 95.1 6.7 4.9 135.6 127.9 98.3 2.2 1.7 130.1 . . . . . . . . . .
Economic, and pre- or production feasibility studies 64.1 87.3 9.3 12.7 73.4 134.1 93.3 9.7 6.7 143.7 . . . . . . . . . .
Environment 87.9 97.5 2.3 2.5 90.1 101.9 96.4 3.8 3.6 105.7 . . . . . . . . . .
Land access 10.7 100.0 . . . . . . 10.7 13.5 99.6 0.1 0.4 13.6 . . . . . . . . . .
Subtotal 2 637.5 93.2 193.3 6.8 2 830.8 3 016.5 92.0 262.9 8.0 3 279.5 1 628.4 88.5 211.3 11.5 1 839.7
Capital (2) 448.5 93.0 33.7 7.0 482.2 446.3 94.8 24.2 5.2 470.5 115.5 41.4 163.7 58.6 279.2
Repair and maintenance (2) 17.8 83.5 3.5 16.5 21.3 10.9 90.8 1.1 9.2 12.0 . . . . . . . . . .
Total 3 103.8 93.1 230.5 6.9 3 334.3 3 473.7 92.3 288.3 7.7 3 762.0 1 743.9 82.3 375.0 17.7 2 118.9
MINE COMPLEX DEVELOPMENT
Field work and overhead n.a. n.a. 1 192.4 100.0 1 192.4 n.a. n.a. 1 520.0 100.0 1 520.0 n.a. n.a. . . . . . .
Engineering studies n.a. n.a. 61.9 100.0 61.9 n.a. n.a. 71.3 100.0 71.3 n.a. n.a. . . . . . .
Economic, and pre- or production feasibility studies n.a. n.a. 14.6 100.0 14.6 n.a. n.a. 13.4 100.0 13.4 n.a. n.a. . . . . . .
Environment n.a. n.a. 93.2 100.0 93.2 n.a. n.a. 88.9 100.0 88.9 n.a. n.a. . . . . . .
Land access n.a. n.a. 4.5 100.0 4.5 n.a. n.a. 19.8 100.0 19.8 n.a. n.a. . . . . . .
Subtotal n.a. n.a. 1 366.6 100.0 1 366.6 n.a. n.a. 1 713.4 100.0 1 713.4 n.a. n.a. 1 400.4 100.0 1 400.4
Capital (2) n.a. n.a. 3 986.0 100.0 3 986.0 n.a. n.a. 5 486.3 100.0 5 486.3 n.a. n.a. 4 005.3 100.0 4 005.3
Repair and maintenance (2) n.a. n.a. 1 805.8 100.0 1 805.8 n.a. n.a. 1 708.2 100.0 1 708.2 n.a. n.a. . . . . . .
Total n.a. n.a. 7 158.3 100.0 7 158.3 n.a. n.a. 8 907.9 100.0 8 907.9 n.a. n.a. 5 405.7 100.0 5 405.7
Grand total 3 103.8 29.6 7 388.8 70.4 10 492.7 3 473.7 27.4 9 196.2 72.6 12 669.9 1 743.9 23.2 5 780.7 76.8 7 524.5

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
-: Nil; . . Not available; . . . Amount too small to be expressed; 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 2009 are revised spending intentions. Totals for 2009 revised spending intentions are incomplete; they do not include any repair and maintenance expenditures. Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


 

TABLE 2.2. METAL PRICES OF SELECTED COMMODITIES, 2006-09
Commodity U.S. Currency 2006 2007 % Change
2007/2006
2008 % Change
2008/2007
2009 % Change
2009/2008
Annual Average
Copper ¢/lb 304.91 322.89 5.90 315.52 -2.28 233.59 -25.97
Nickel $/lb 11.00 16.89 53.49 9.59 -43.23 6.65 -30.66
Zinc ¢/lb 148.54 147.08 -0.99 85.04 -42.18 75.08 -11.71
Lead ¢/lb 58.50 117.03 100.05 94.87 -18.94 77.99 -17.80
Molybdenum $/lb 24.75 30.23 22.17 28.73 -4.97 11.12 -61.28
Gold $/troy oz 604.43 696.66 15.26 871.71 25.13 972.98 11.62
Silver $/troy oz 11.57 13.39 15.75 15.02 12.13 14.65 -2.44
Platinum $/troy oz 1 141.67 1 304.79 14.29 1 576.40 20.82 1 204.05 -23.62
Palladium $/troy oz 320.43 354.66 10.68 352.19 -0.70 263.57 -25.16
Uranium (U3O8) $/lb 49.61 90.83 83.09 61.71 -32.06 46.06 -25.35
Coal, metallurgical $/t f.o.b. 107.00 89.00 -16.82 136.00 144.38 129.00 -55.36
Coal, thermal $/t f.o.b. 42.50 55.65 30.94 89.00 59.93 76.00 -39.20
Iron ore ¢/dmt 77.35 84.70 9.50 140.60 66.00 101.00 -28.17
Potash $/t 172.00 190.00 10.47 576.00 203.16 (a) 694/500 . .

Sources: Platts Metals Week for base metals, molybdenum, and precious metals (base metals are based on London Metal Exchange [LME] Settlement prices, molydenum on the MW Mean, and precious metals are LME Final or PM Fix prices); Cameco Corporation for uranium (uranium price is the U.S. Spot price); B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources for coal prices for 2005-08; Indexmundi (www.indexmundi.com) for 2009 thermal coal estimate; Canadian Minerals Yearbook, 2008, Coal chapter, for 2009 metallurgical coal price estimate; Indexmundi.com for 2008 and 2009 iron ore price estimates, previous years from Econostats.com; Canadian Minerals Yearbook, 2008, Potash chapter, for 2005-08 benchmark potash contract prices, f.o.b. Vancouver.
. . Not available; dmt Dry metric tonnes.
(a) For 2009, the $694 potash contract was in effect from February through mid-June, and the $500 is a weighted average of two contracts from mid-June through December ($505 from July through late October, and $455 for the remainder of the year).


 

TABLE 2.3. EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL EXPENDITURES IN CANADA, (1) BY TYPE OF COMPANY, 1997-2009
Year Current Dollars Constant 2008 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 32.4 388.8 813.0 1 201.8
1998 170.5 485.4 655.9 26.0 223.8 636.8 860.6
1999 141.4 362.9 504.3 28.0 182.4 468.1 650.4
2000 156.0 340.7 496.7 31.4 193.1 421.9 615.0
2001 177.7 335.1 512.9 34.7 217.6 410.4 628.0
2002 190.8 382.6 573.4 33.3 231.1 463.4 694.4
2003 283.7 403.0 686.7 41.3 332.6 472.5 805.1
2004 599.7 578.1 1 177.8 50.9 681.3 656.7 1 338.0
2005 801.3 503.5 1 304.8 61.4 880.5 553.3 1 433.8
2006 1 238.0 673.5 1 911.5 64.8 1 327.9 722.4 2 050.4
2007 1 904.4 926.5 2 830.8 67.3 1 979.6 963.0 2 942.6
2008 2 117.8 1 161.7 3 279.5 64.6 2 117.8 1 161.7 3 279.5
2009 1 020.6 819.1 1 839.7 55.5 1 020.6 819.1 1 839.7

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 2009 are revised spending intentions.


 

TABLE 2.4. SUMMARY OF CLAIM STATISTICS, 2007 AND 2008
Province/Territory Area of New
Claims Staked
Percentage
of New
Claims Staked
Area of
Claims in
Good Standing
Canada
Total Area
Area of Claims in
Good Standing as a
Percentage of
Canada Total Area
(hectares) (%) (hectares) (hectares) (%)
2007
Newfoundland and Labrador 1 980 150 7.4 4 732 075 40 572 000 11.7
Nova Scotia 671 987 2.5 749 931 5 549 000 13.5
New Brunswick 12 691 . . . 597 664 7 344 000 8.1
Quebec 4 853 966 18.0 11 348 539 154 068 000 7.4
Ontario 1 817 264 6.8 4 925 264 106 858 000 4.6
Manitoba 925 576 3.4 3 741 070 64 995 000 5.8
Saskatchewan 3 679 981 13.7 13 266 341 65 233 000 20.3
Alberta 3 888 239 14.5 11 437 358 66 119 000 17.3
British Columbia 6 518 126 24.2 14 135 800 94 931 000 14.9
Yukon 258 124 1.0 1 892 994 48 345 000 3.9
Northwest Territories (1) 1 160 821 4.3 5 472 144 143 232 000 3.8
Nunavut (1) 1 134 438 4.2 6 746 774 199 400 000 3.4
Total Canada 26 901 363 100.0 79 045 954 996 646 000 7.9
2008
Newfoundland and Labrador 828 950 4.4 4 307 000 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 4 493 169 143 232 000 3.1
Nunavut (1) 872 986 4.6 6 900 011 199 400 000 3.5
Total Canada 18 979 200 100.0 78 352 564 996 646 000 7.9

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


 

TABLE 2.5. EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL ACTIVITY, (1) BY PROVINCE AND TERRITORY, 2008
Province/Territory Surface Drilling Underground Drilling Line Cutting and Claims Geochemistry and Geology Geophysics Rock Work (2) Engineering Studies Economic and Pre- or Production Feasibility Studies Environment Land Access Other Field Costs Head Office Grand Total
Diamond Other Diamond Other
Metres Cost Metres Cost Metres Cost Metres Cost
(000) ($000) (000) ($000) (000) ($000) (000) ($000) ($000)
Newfoundland and Labrador 213 61 842 5 1 585 20 1 255 2 471 26 921 14 296 5 514 3 765 740 4 574 378 17 960 5 360 146 660
Nova Scotia 40 6 241 3 364 5 1 200 1 341 2 471 2 539 612 2 340 1 384 1 586 261 129 928 21 397
New Brunswick 108 19 615 . . . 145 836 6 440 1 905 412 320 876 649 2 1 051 495 32 745
Quebec 1 511 252 814 10 3 749 118 8 435 5 297 8 423 76 328 39 265 40 065 12 094 19 105 5 610 234 36 069 23 655 526 141
Ontario 2 106 355 431 17 16 659 515 58 393 26 8 163 13 819 78 790 34 183 129 030 6 781 38 864 8 712 2 507 29 483 18 450 799 266
Manitoba 369 86 350 9 9 425 38 7 040 1 525 16 129 9 809 2 000 1 801 6 229 2 119 50 3 656 5 941 152 075
Saskatchewan 515 188 333 26 28 524 16 765 30 883 68 072 18 268 7 909 20 237 6 082 3 546 19 910 22 204 430 735
Alberta 10 6 715 16 2 230 1 180 1 587 2 274 171 331 2 339 1 144 975 1 814 20 758
British Columbia 820 171 628 51 12 570 73 12 323 6 402 56 410 14 064 25 130 26 523 20 201 26 470 2 266 43 939 17 515 435 441
Yukon 214 55 109 3 1 283 . . . 6 2 043 25 726 6 363 9 855 3 231 4 858 7 248 292 14 787 3 161 133 962
Northwest Territories 124 36 897 6 17 981 1 858 5 057 15 403 12 595 7 678 12 793 10 353 1 138 18 679 8 316 147 749
Nunavut 163 91 204 8 6 947 3 415 33 963 20 123 44 848 57 464 18 102 29 939 1 749 103 289 21 509 432 551
Total 6 194 1 332 178 154 101 463 765 88 310 36 9 661 63 278 371 052 225 487 275 734 130 077 143 720 105 680 13 568 289 927 129 347 3 279 479
Percentage of grand total n.a. 40.6 n.a. 3.1 n.a. 2.7 n.a. 0.3 1.9 11.3 6.9 8.4 4.0 4.4 3.2 0.4 8.8 3.9 100.0

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.


 

TABLE 2.6. EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL EXPENDITURES IN CANADA, (1) BY RANGE OF EXPENDITURES AND BY TYPE OF COMPANY, 2006-09
Range of
Expenditures
Junior Senior Total
Companies Expenditures Percentage
of Total Expenditures
Companies Expenditures Percentage
of Total Expenditures
Companies Expenditures Percentage
of Total Expenditures
($) (no.) ($000) (%) (no.) ($000) (%) (no.) ($000) (%)
2006
>10 million 20 428 611 34.6 20 477 257 70.9 40 905 868 47.4
5 million-
10 million
36 247 745 20.0 15 114 204 17.0 51 361 949 18.9
1 million-
5 million
202 438 012 35.4 25 71 308 10.6 227 509 320 26.6
500 000-
1 million
96 69 404 5.6 5 4 066 0.6 101 73 470 3.8
200 000-
500 000
99 34 444 2.8 11 3 813 0.6 110 38 257 2.0
100 000-
200 000
63 9 532 0.8 14 1 884 0.3 77 11 417 0.6
50 000-
100 000
44 3 331 0.3 7 541 0.1 51 3 871 0.2
1-50 000 89 1 517 0.1 22 424 0.1 111 1 941 0.1
Subtotal 649 1 232 596 99.6 119 673 497 100.0 768 1 906 093 99.7
Prospectors (2) 13 5 434 0.4 13 5 434 0.3
Total 2006 662 1 238 031 100.0 119 673 497 100.0 781 1 911 527 100.0
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 0.0 43 2 931 0.1
1-50 000 91 1 906 0.1 19 218 0.0 110 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 14.4
1 million-
5 million
291 684 221 32.3 33 91 907 7.9 324 776 127 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
84 28 604 1.4 6 2 004 0.2 90 30 608 0.9
100 000-
200 000
60 8 433 0.4 3 444 0.0 63 8 877 0.3
50 000-
100 000
30 2 098 0.1 7 474 0.0 37 2 572 0.1
1- 50 000 79 1 460 0.1 10 176 0.0 89 1 636 0.0
Subtotal 716 2 115 768 99.9 106 1 161 666 100.0 822 3 277 433 99.9
Prospectors (2) 4 2 046 0.1 4 2 046 0.1
Total 2008 720 2 117 813 100.0 106 1 161 666 100.0 826 3 279 479 100.0
2009
>10 million 22 396 511 38.9 19 623 508 76.1 41 1 020 019 55.4
5 million-
10 million
33 209 545 20.5 16 116 907 14.3 49 326 452 17.7
1 million-
5 million
152 307 318 30.1 31 71 465 8.7 183 378 783 20.6
500 000-
1 million
97 61 143 6.0 7 3 800 0.5 104 64 943 3.5
200 000-
500 000
123 36 785 3.6 7 2 160 0.3 130 38 945 2.1
100 000-
200 000
48 6 064 0.6 5 680 0.1 53 6 744 0.4
50 000-
100 000
25 1 521 0.1 6 428 0.1 31 1 949 0.1
1-50 000 48 888 0.1 8 170 0.0 56 1 058 0.1
Subtotal 548 1 019 776 99.9 99 819 117 100.0 647 1 838 893 100.0
Prospectors (2) 3 801 0.1 3 801 0.0
Total 2009 551 1 020 577 100.0 99 819 117 100.0 650 1 839 694 100.0

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 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 2009 are revised spending intentions. Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


 

TABLE 2.7. EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL EXPENDITURES, (1) BY SPECIFIC COMMODITY OF INTEREST, 2006-08
Mineral Commodity 2006 Expenditures 2006 Ranking 2006
Percentage
of Total
2007
Expenditures
2007 Ranking 2007
Percentage
of Total
2007 as % of 2006 Expenditures 2008 Expenditures 2008 Ranking 2008 Percentage of Total 2008 as % of 2007 Expenditures
($ millions) (%) ($ millions) (%) (%) ($ millions) (%) (%)
Base metals 411.9   21.6 711.5   25.1 172.7 842.1   25.7 118.4
Nickel 111.5 5 5.8 173.5 5 6.1 155.6 282.5 4 8.6 162.8
Copper 194.9 4 10.2 343.1 3 12.1 176.0 352.3 3 10.7 102.7
Lead 26.7 13 1.4 47.6 11 1.7 178.5 29.0 14 0.9 60.8
Zinc 74.5 6 4.0 133.1 6 4.7 178.6 172.3 7 5.3 129.4
Precious metals 724.6   37.9 1 025.2   36.2 141.5 1 161.4   35.4 113.3
Gold 614.4 1 32.1 862.2 1 30.5 140.3 1 005.3 1 30.7 116.6
Platinum group metals 44.7 10 2.3 84.0 9 3.0 187.7 61.7 11 1.9 73.5
Silver 63.3 8 3.3 76.3 10 2.7 120.5 94.2 9 2.9 123.4
Iron 65.1 7 3.4 118.6 7 4.2 182.3 224.3 5 6.8 189.1
Uranium 213.6 3 11.2 413.3 2 14.6 193.5 409.0 2 12.5 99.0
Other metals 85.5   4.5 174.7   6.2 204.4 189.0   5.8 108.2
Molybdenum 34.5 11 1.8 90.9 8 3.2 263.4 81.3 10 2.5 89.4
Cobalt 30.3 12 1.6 38.4 12 1.4 127.0 33.8 13 1.0 87.9
Nonmetals 17.5   0.9 31.7   1.1 181.5 180.0   5.5 567.5
Potash 2.9 17 0.2 17.8 15 0.6 619.4 159.7 8 4.9 896.9
Diamonds 342 2 17.9 321.6 4 11.4 94.0 221.6 6 6.8 68.9
Coal 51.3 9 2.7 34.2 13 1.2 66.5 51.9 12 1.6 152.0
Total 1 911.5   100.0 2 830.8   100.0 148.1 3 279.5   100.0 115.8

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.
"Notes: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. Totals of commodity groups may not add to totals of its listed components as some unspecified amount belonging to each commodity group are not re-allocated to a specific commodity for this exercise."


 

TABLE 2.8. EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL EXPENDITURES, (1) BY PROVINCE AND TERRITORY AND BY MINERAL COMMODITY, 2008
Province/Territory Metals Nonmetals Diamonds Coal Total
Base Precious Iron Uranium Other
($000)
Newfoundland and Labrador 47 951 12 855 16 608 58 108 8 398 2 727 13 146 660
Nova Scotia 8 320 7 617 376 184 4 900 21 397
New Brunswick 13 226 9 352 2 919 5 793 337 1 118 32 745
Quebec 122 426 263 294 22 385 87 319 14 621 3 320 12 776 526 141
Ontario 256 998 444 577 2 730 16 944 47 063 11 993 18 962 799 266
Manitoba 110 618 29 762 6 19 11 013 657 152 075
Saskatchewan 10 732 20 674 189 530 4 631 148 802 53 692 2 674 430 735
Alberta 455 1 300 3 760 287 251 8 006 6 699 20 758
British Columbia 167 378 146 409 4 572 719 78 548 962 469 36 384 435 441
Yukon 45 547 70 753 2 730 14 778 154 133 962
Northwest Territories 16 970 19 334 14 3 637 14 490 180 93 123 147 749
Nunavut 41 483 136 822 176 778 43 346 4 181 33 936 432 551
Total 842 105 1 161 450 224 386 409 017 189 006 179 951 221 622 51 942 3 279 479

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 2.9. EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL EXPENDITURES, (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 20 135 3 179 16 753 10 786 2 365 4 908 125 58 250
Nova Scotia 3 452 6 660 250 115 7 000 17 477
New Brunswick 5 962 2 512 50 167 4 077 303 13 071
Quebec 57 114 113 737 12 182 43 524 10 098 1 538 6 011 244 205
Ontario 124 576 395 686 1 993 6 934 24 003 7 171 15 801 576 163
Manitoba 45 282 29 654 156 459 2 957 23 78 531
Saskatchewan 474 7 944 110 752 4 355 237 931 15 022 4 251 380 729
Alberta 455 250 641 110 57 4 433 5 041 10 986
British Columbia 40 135 93 849 2 762 16 648 1 173 38 831 193 398
Yukon 13 037 33 047 16 518 62 602
Northwest Territories 1 911 7 271 19 474 6 924 450 11 636 28 684
Nunavut 5 885 92 590 30 000 32 373 600 14 150 175 598
Total 318 416 786 129 64 009 205 807 86 407 256 602 67 076 55 248 1 839 694

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 2009 are revised spending intentions. Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


 

TABLE 2.10. EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL SURFACE AND UNDERGROUND DRILLING, (1)
BY PROVINCE AND TERRITORY AND BY MINERAL COMMODITY, 2008
Province/Territory Metals Nonmetals Diamonds Coal Total
Base Precious Iron Uranium Other
Surface Underground Surface Underground Surface Surface Surface Underground Surface Surface Underground Surface Underground Surface Underground
(000 metres)
Newfoundland and Labrador 62 20 11 33 72 21 18 218 20
Nova Scotia 23 20 5 43 5
New Brunswick 53 28 4 21 1 1 108
Quebec 362 5 955 117 30 133 26 6 9 1 1 521 123
Ontario 460 210 1 442 300 5 42 115 31 32 27 2 123 541
Manitoba 264 38 103 10 1 379 38
Saskatchewan 48 24 358 9 68 31 3 541
Alberta . . . 2 9 15 26
British Columbia 231 71 340 2 13 1 224 62 871 73
Yukon 65 119 33 217
Northwest Territories 16 61 2 14 37 1 130 1
Nunavut 21 93 13 24 20 171
Total 1 605 344 3 197 419 95 638 463 31 136 134 2 81 5 6 348 801

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) 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, and nonmetals.


 

TABLE 2.11. EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL EXPENDITURES, (1) IN CANADA BY WORK PHASE (OFF-AND ON-MINE SITE), BY TYPE OF COMPANY AND BY MINERAL COMMODITY, 2008
Work Phase/
Type of Company
Base
Metals
Precious Metals Iron Uranium Diamonds Others (2) Total
($000)
Exploration, off-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 381 944 627 263 28 506 317 326 150 808 184 491 1 690 338
Senior companies 222 914 126 347 4 571 90 188 28 284 93 538 565 842
Total 604 858 753 611 33 077 407 513 179 092 278 029 2 256 180
Exploration, on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors
Senior companies 49 438 89 309 7 755 2 331 148 834
Total 49 438 89 309 7 755 2 331 148 834
Exploration, off- plus on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 381 944 627 263 28 506 317 326 150 808 184 491 1 690 338
Senior companies 272 352 215 657 4 571 90 188 36 038 95 870 714 676
Total 654 296 842 920 33 077 407 513 186 847 280 361 2 405 014
Deposit appraisal, off-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 53 829 140 444 186 489 46 713 427 475
Senior companies 76 261 139 850 1 504 30 676 84 594 332 884
Total 130 089 280 295 186 489 1 504 30 676 131 307 760 359
Deposit appraisal, on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors
Senior companies 57 720 38 235 4 820 4 100 9 232 114 106
Total 57 720 38 235 4 820 4 100 9 232 114 106
Deposit appraisal, off- plus on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 53 829 140 444 186 489 46 713 427 475
Senior companies 133 980 178 085 4 820 1 504 34 776 93 826 446 990
Total 187 809 318 530 191 309 1 504 34 776 140 539 874 465
Exploration plus deposit appraisal, off-plus on-mine-site
Junior companies and prospectors 435 773 767 708 214 995 317 326 150 808 231 204 2 117 813
Senior companies 406 332 393 742 9 391 91 691 70 814 189 695 1 161 666
Total 842 105 1 161 450 224 386 409 017 221 622 420 899 3 279 479

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) Includes other metals, coal, and nonmetals." Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


 

TABLE 2.12. EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL EXPENDITURES, (1) BY PROVINCE AND TERRITORY,
BY WORK PHASE AND BY TYPE OF COMPANY, 2008
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 109 791 17 891 127 683 5 659 13 318 18 977 115 450 31 209 146 660
Nova Scotia 7 245 6 675 13 920 1 100 6 377 7 477 8 345 13 052 21 397
New Brunswick 24 684 6 921 31 605 1 140 1 140 24 684 8 061 32 745
Quebec 325 284 109 798 435 081 55 903 35 156 91 059 381 187 144 954 526 141
Ontario 392 880 200 650 593 530 60 896 144 840 205 736 453 776 345 491 799 266
Manitoba 67 156 70 321 137 477 14 598 14 598 81 754 70 321 152 075
Saskatchewan 221 766 131 005 352 771 24 256 53 709 77 964 246 022 184 713 430 735
Alberta 13 504 5 177 18 681 177 1 900 2 077 13 681 7 077 20 758
British Columbia 285 564 44 374 329 938 61 500 44 002 105 502 347 065 88 376 435 441
Yukon 94 446 24 823 119 269 1 466 13 227 14 693 95 912 38 050 133 962
Northwest Territories 74 456 24 422 98 878 14 095 34 776 48 870 88 551 59 198 147 749
Nunavut 73 562 72 619 146 181 187 825 98 545 286 370 261 387 171 163 432 551
Total 1 690 338 714 676 2 405 014 427 475 446 990 874 465 2 117 813 1 161 666 3 279 479

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 2.13. EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL EXPENDITURES, (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 23 347 12 051 35 398 13 242 9 609 22 851 36 589 21 660 58 250
Nova Scotia 5 444 3 533 8 977 8 500 8 500 5 444 12 033 17 477
New Brunswick 11 031 1 605 12 636 424 12 436 11 454 1 617 13 071
Quebec 140 022 66 209 206 231 23 610 14 363 37 973 163 632 80 573 244 205
Ontario 277 449 131 712 409 160 105 142 61 861 167 003 382 591 193 573 576 163
Manitoba 14 421 47 810 62 231 3 000 13 300 16 300 17 421 61 110 78 531
Saskatchewan 102 512 140 092 242 604 24 000 114 125 138 125 126 512 254 217 380 729
Alberta 5 669 2 917 8 586 2 400 2 400 5 669 5 317 10 986
British Columbia 105 033 28 231 133 264 37 055 23 079 60 134 142 088 51 310 193 398
Yukon 35 236 8 445 43 681 18 921 18 921 35 236 27 366 62 602
Northwest Territories 16 703 2 631 19 334 9 350 9 350 26 053 2 631 28 684
Nunavut 33 337 42 532 75 869 34 550 65 179 99 729 67 887 107 711 175 598
Canada 770 204 487 768 1 257 972 250 372 331 349 581 722 1 020 577 819 117 1 839 694

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 2009 are revised spending intentions. Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


 

TABLE 2.14. NUMBER OF PROJECTS BY MINERAL COMMODITY IN THE OFF-MINE-SITE DEPOSIT APPRAISAL STAGE, 1997-2008
  Precious
Metals
Base
Metals
Nonmetals Diamonds Others (1) Total
Projects
(number)
1997 46 24 21 0 21 112
1998 32 24 20 0 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

Source: Natural Resources Canada, based on the Survey of Mineral Exploration Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures.
(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, thus making comparisons with previous years difficult.


 

TABLE 2.15. EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL EXPENDITURES IN CANADA, (1) BY WORK PHASE (ON- AND OFF-MINE-SITE) AND BY TYPE OF COMPANY, 1997-2009
  Exploration Deposit Appraisal Exploration and
Deposit Appraisal
Exploration and
Deposit Appraisal
On-and Off-Mine-Site
On-Mine-Site Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site Off-Mine-Site On-Mine-Site 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. 144 970 n.a. 25 573 n.a. 170 544 170 544
Senior 67 875 249 959 61 535 106 018 129 411 355 977 485 387
Total 67 875 394 929 61 535 131 591 129 411 526 520 655 931
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. 770 204 n.a. 250 372 n.a. 1 020 577 1 020 577
Senior 121 330 366 438 89 969 241 381 211 299 607 819 819 117
Total 121 330 1 136 642 89 969 491 753 211 299 1 628 395 1 839 694

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 2009 are revised spending intentions.


 

TABLE 2.16. EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL EXPENDITURES, (1) BY PROVINCE AND TERRITORY AND BY WORK PHASE (OFF- AND ON-MINE-SITE), 2008
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 126 855 827 5 729 13 248 132 585 14 075 146 660
Nova Scotia 13 920 7 477 21 397 21 397
New Brunswick 31 605 1 140 32 745 32 745
Quebec 420 005 15 077 80 417 10 642 500 422 25 719 526 141
Ontario 499 792 93 739 130 047 75 689 629 838 169 428 799 266
Manitoba 120 497 16 980 14 598 135 095 16 980 152 075
Saskatchewan 352 771 77 964 430 735 430 735
Alberta 18 681 177 1 900 18 858 1 900 20 758
British Columbia 323 512 6 426 102 155 3 348 425 667 9 774 435 441
Yukon 114 604 4 665 14 098 595 128 702 5 260 133 962
Northwest Territories 91 123 7 755 44 770 4 100 135 894 11 855 147 749
Nunavut 142 816 3 365 281 786 4 584 424 602 7 949 432 551
Total 2 256 181 148 834 760 359 114 106 3 016 539 262 940 3 279 479
Total (off- plus on-mine-site) 2 405 014 874 465 3 279 479 3 279 479

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 fieldwork and overhead, plus engineering, economic and feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


 

TABLE 2.17. EXPLORATION AND DEPOSIT APPRAISAL EXPENDITURES, (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 35 398 15 432 7 419 50 830 7 419 58 250
Nova Scotia 8 899 78 8 500 17 399 78 17 477
New Brunswick 12 636 436 13 071 13 071
Quebec 188 862 17 369 30 610 7 363 219 472 24 733 244 205
Ontario 344 897 64 264 118 393 48 610 463 290 112 874 576 163
Manitoba 43 581 18 650 3 000 13 300 46 581 31 950 78 531
Saskatchewan 241 444 1 160 138 100  25 379 544 1 185 380 729
Alberta 8 586 2 400 8 586 2 400 10 986
British Columbia 121 605 11 659 53 570 6 564 175 175 18 223 193 398
Yukon 40 531 3 150 17 634 1 287 58 165 4 437 62 602
Northwest Territories 19 334 9 350 28 684 28 684
Nunavut 70 869 5 000 96 729 3 000 167 598 8 000 175 598
Total 1 136 642 121 330 491 753 89 969 1 628 395 211 299 1 839 694
Total (off- plus on-mine-site) 1 257 972 581 722 1 839 694 1 839 694

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 fieldwork and overhead, plus engineering, economic and feasibility studies, environment, and land access costs.
Notes: Data for 2009 are revised spending intentions. Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.