Canadian Mineral Production

INFORMATION BULLETIN, MARCH 2014

Weaker Prices Result in Lower Mineral Production in 2013;
Still a Robust $44 Billion

Minerals and metals are fundamental to the Canadian economy, contributing to the country’s economic well-being at various points along the value chain, including extraction, processing, and manufacturing, and are key inputs into a wide range of consumer products.

Despite an overall decrease in production value, down 5% to $43.6 billion,Footnote 1 minerals and metals products continued to be a key contributor to Canada’s economy in 2013. Canada’s top five mineral products had shipments valued at over $26 billion in 2013.

As shown in Table 1, the three commodity groups – metals, nonmetals, and coal – all had reduced production values as a result of lower commodity prices for most major minerals and metals. Notwithstanding price decreases, some commodities, such as gold and copper, had increased output and value. Potash, gold, and iron ore were the leading commodities by production value in 2013.

Metals

The value of metallic minerals production fell 1.6% in 2013 to $23.2 billion. Table 2 reveals mixed results for 2013 among the various major commodities with volumes and values rising for some and falling for others.

Of the major metals, uranium led the decline, with its production value down 35.6% on lower prices and output. Nickel’s production value was also down (5.3%) due to a price retreat. Zinc was also down on price and volume due to the closing of the Brunswick mine in March.

Despite a price retreat for gold in 2013, its volume and value both increased. With a production value of $5.9 billion, gold was the second-ranked commodity by value. Iron ore’s volume and value were up 10.0% and 9.4%, respectively, partly due to Tata Steel’s DSO project beginning shipments. Copper’s volume and value were up despite price decreases, in part due to new mine openings by Glencore Xstrata (Bracemac-McLeod) and HudBay Minerals (Lalor Lake).

Nonmetals

The value of nonmetallic minerals production was also down in 2013, by 4.1%, to $15.8 billion.

Potash remained, for the fourth straight year, the top-ranked commodity by value (Table 3). Despite increased mine shipments, its production value decreased 3.8% from 2012 levels as a result of weakened global demand and resultant lower global potash prices.

The volume of Canadian diamond production remained relatively stable in 2013, at around 10.6 million carats. Production values, however, fell 2.1% as global prices softened.

Cement production, following the trend of a slowing domestic construction sector, decreased in both volume and value. Sand and gravel also experienced reductions in both mine shipments and value.

The value of salt production increased 32.2% in 2013 while the volume grew 14.9%. Salt is purchased under contract with no spot market to establish a market-clearing price. Salt demand varies with the severity of Canadian winters. Based on the accuracy of forecasting the severity of the coming winter, surpluses (leading to increased inventories) or shortages (leading to price increases) may occur. In addition, the U.S.-Canadian exchange rate for cross-border trade will affect production values in a given year.

Coal

The value of Canada’s coal production declined nearly 21% in 2013 as a result of significantly lower export prices. With total production at $4.6 billion, coal was the fourth-ranked Canadian commodity in 2013. Canadian mines produced an estimated 35 million tonnes (Mt) of metallurgical coal (used in the production of steel) and 34 Mt of thermal coal (used in the production of electricity).Footnote 2

Provincial and Territorial Perspectives

Ontario once again led the provinces with a mineral production value of $9.8 billion. On the strength of iron ore sales,   Quebec ranked second with mine shipments of $8.2 billion. Saskatchewan and British Columbia followed, with production values of $7.2 billion and $7.0 billion, respectively. These top four provinces accounted for nearly three-quarters of the value of Canadian mineral production in 2013.


TABLE 1. VALUE OF CANADIAN MINERAL PRODUCTION, 2012 AND 2013 (p)
Commodity Group 2012 2013 (p) Change
($ millions) (%)
Metals  23,558.4  23,170.1 -1.6
Nonmetals  16,471.4  15,794.3 -4.1
Total non-fuels  40,029.8  38,964.4 -2.8
Coal  5,880.8  4,636.1 -21.2
Total production  45,910.7  43,600.5 -5.0

Sources: Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada.
(p) Preliminary.


TABLE 2. PRODUCTION OF CANADA'S LEADING MINERALS, 2013 (p)
Commodity Production
2013 (p)
Change
From 2012
Value
2013 (p)
Change
From 2012
(000 tonnes except where indicated) (%) ($ millions) (%)
METALLIC MINERALS
Gold (kilograms)  124,054.2 16.6  5,898.9 3.4
Iron ore  42,769.7 10.0  5,333.9 9.4
Copper   613.5 9.5  4,629.9 4.0
Nickel   214.7 5.3  3,356.9 -5.3
Uranium (1)   7.5 -21.4   771.5 -35.6
Zinc   413.8 -31.2   809.0 -30.9
Other metals n.a. n.a.  2,370.0 -9.2
Total metals n.a. n.a.  23,170.1 -1.6
NONMETALLIC MINERALS
Potash (K2O) (2)  10,140.0 13  6,102.9 -3.8
Diamonds (000 carats)  10,561.6 0.3  1,963.5 -2.1
Sand and gravel (4)  228,009.9 -4.7  1,747.5 -4.1
Cement (3)  11,756.8 -6.3  1,556.5 -4.0
Stone (4)  152,511.6 -0.3  1,466.9 -5.9
Salt  12,436.1 14.9   644.9 32.2
Other nonmetals n.a. n.a.  2,312.1 7.9
Total nonmetals n.a. n.a.  15,794.3 -4.1
FUELS
Coal 68,331.0 2.8 4,636.1 -21.2

Sources: Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada.
(p) Preliminary; n.a. Not applicable.
(1) Uranium value is calculated using spot market prices. (2) Excludes shipments to potassium sulphate plants. (3) Includes exported clinker. (4) Excludes shipments of sand, gravel, and stone to Canadian cement, lime, and clay plants.
Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.


TABLE 3. CANADA'S LEADING MINERALS BY VALUE OF PRODUCTION, 2013 (p)
Mineral Production Value
($ billions)
Potash (1) 6.10
Gold 5.90
Iron ore 5.33
Coal 4.64
Copper 4.63
Nickel 3.36
Diamonds 1.96
Sand and gravel (2) 1.75
Cement (3) 1.56
Stone (2) 1.47
Zinc 0.81
Uranium (4) 0.77

Sources: Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada.
(p) Preliminary.
(1) Excludes shipments to potassium sulphate plants. (2) Excludes shipments of sand, gravel, and stone to Canadian cement, lime, and clay plants. (3) Includes exported clinker. (4) Uranium value is calculated using spot market prices.


TABLE 4. MINERAL PRODUCTION BY PROVINCE AND TERRITORY, 2013 (p)
Province or Territory Metallics Nonmetallics Coal Total Share of Production
($000) (%)
Newfoundland and Labrador  3,930,424   66,311  3,996,735 9.2
Prince Edward Island   3,688   3,688 0.0
Nova Scotia   248,129   248,129 0.6
New Brunswick   212,067   444,066   656,133 1.5
Quebec  6,300,084  1,922,892  8,222,976 18.9
Ontario  6,917,833  2,906,368  9,824,201 22.5
Manitoba  1,110,399   226,821  1,337,220 3.1
Saskatchewan   886 204 x x  7,169,202 16.4
Alberta   1,183 x x  2,360,389 5.4
British Columbia  2,597,205   796,970  3,594,976  6,989,151 16.0
Yukon   485,891   9,153   495,044 1.1
Northwest Territories   102,045  1,568,802  1,670,847 3.5
Nunavut   626,799   626,799 1.4
Total  23,170,135  15,794,280  4,636,099  43,600,514 100.0

Sources: Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada.
- Nil; (p) Preliminary; x Confidential.
Notes: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding. Production is based on shipments. For full details of the methods used in computing the mineral production of Canada, please refer to the Appendix in Statistics Canada catalogue no. 26-202-XIB.


Footnotes

Footnote 1

The values of metallic and nonmetallic minerals, and coal, reflect 2012 actual values and 2013 preliminary estimates.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

Full-year estimates are based on the most recent production statistics through November 2013.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2014