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Canadian Mining Assets

Information Bulletin
(Published in January 2021)
Canada is home to half of the world’s publicly listed mining and mineral exploration companiesFootnote 1. Many companies are active within Canada and have sizeable operations abroad.

Canadian mining assets (CMAs) dataFootnote 2 reveal important insight into the breadth and depth of the global presence of Canadian mining and mineral exploration companies.

Find out more about CMAs:

Overview
Canadian mining assets located abroad, by region
Canadian mining assets, by company type
Annual variations
Use of statistics on Canadian mining assets located abroad

Overview

A total of 1,290 Canadian mining and exploration companies had CMAs valued at $263.2 billion in 2019, a slight 1.0% decline from $266.0 billion in 2018. Of these companies, 621 had CMAs located abroad worth $177.8 billion, which was up 2.0% from the 2018 value of $174.3 billion.

Canadian companies were present in 96 foreign countries in 2019, down from 100 countries in 2018. Mining assets abroad accounted for about two thirds of the total value of CMAs.

In 2019, transactions by large gold-focused corporations displaced values on a regional basis, but had limited impact at an aggregate level. In particular, the acquisition of Goldcorp by United States–based Newmont was largely offset by Barrick Gold’s acquisition of Jersey-based Randgold Resources.

In previous years, significant fluctuations in exchange rates have affected the values of companies that report their financial results in US dollars, which account for about 80% of the total CMAs. Relatively stable rates between 2018 and 2019 had a more limited impact, decreasing the value of CMAs by 1.5% and driving the reduction in CMAs.

Canadian mining assets located abroad, by region

In 2019, CMAs experienced declines in value in all regions except for Africa, where values surged. Figure 1 provides a detailed regional breakdown of mining asset values on a map and Table 1 displays the value and percentage variation of CMAs by region, between 2018 and 2019.

Figure 1: Geographic distribution of Canadian mining assets, 2019 (p)
(1,290 companies with $263.2 billion in mining and mineral exploration assets)

Figure 1: Geographic distribution of Canadian mining assets, 2019
Text version

In this world map, countries are colour-coded according to a range of values for CMAs (for example, countries in brown have CMAs in the range of $10 million to $100 million). For each region and for Canada, the United States and Mexico, the 2018 and 2019 CMA values are listed along with the number of Canadian-based companies with assets in that region or country. Refer to Table 1 for the specific values in each region.

Source: Natural Resources Canada.
(p) preliminary, M million, B billion.
Note: Asset totals may be different because of rounding.
Company totals may be different because companies can be active in multiple jurisdictions.

Table 1: CMA's, by region, 2018 and 2019 (p)
Region 2018 2019 (p) Change Change  
($ billions) (%)
Africa 26.2 37.8 11.6 44.2%
Americas (except Canada) 125.0 118.7 -6.3 -5.0%
Asia 8.8 8.6 -0.2 -2.4%
Europe 10.0 9.0 -1.0 -10.2%
Oceania 4.3 3.8 -0.6 -13.0%
Total for CMAs abroad 174.3 177.8 3.5 2.0%
Canada 91.6 85.6 -6.0 -6.6%
Total for CMAs 266.0 263.2 -2.5 -1.0%

Source: Natural Resources Canada.
(p) preliminary.
Note: Totals may be different because of rounding.

Africa had the second-highest value of CMAs and increased by an impressive $11.6 billion to a record value of $37.8 billion in 2019. Increases in the CMAs value were registered in Mali (+$6.0 billion), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (+$4.7 billion), Zambia (+$1.2 billion) and Côte d'Ivoire (+$573 million). These gains were marginally offset by a decline in Eritrea. Noteworthy events contributing to these changes included:

  • Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mali: Barrick Gold’s acquisition of Africa-focused Randgold Resources accounts for most of the increase in CMAs values in these three countries.
  • Zambia: Barrick recorded a significant impairment reversalFootnote 3 following changes to Zambia’s tax regime and an updated life-of-mine plan at its Lumwana copper mine.
  • Eritrea: Zijin Mining Group Co. of China acquired Nevsun Resources and its interest in the Bisha copper-zinc mine.

The majority of CMAs abroad (67%) was located in the Western Hemisphere (the Americas), where the value of assets declined by 5.0% to $118.7 billion in 2019. A large portion of the value was situated in the regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. This portion accounted for 46.5% of CMAs abroad with a value of $82.5 billion in 2019, down 22.3% from the previous year. Notable declines were recorded in Mexico (-$12.2 billion), Argentina (-$4.3 billion), the Dominican Republic (-$2.2 billion) and Chile (-$1.3 billion), while smaller increases were registered in Brazil (+$668.1 million) and Ecuador (+$509.4 million). Contributing factors included:

  • Argentina, Chile, Dominican Republic and Mexico: The acquisition of Goldcorp by United States–based Newmont Mining accounts for most of the decline in CMA values in these countries.
  • Brazil: Lundin Mining acquired the Chapada copper mine from Yamana Gold, another Canadian company, at a higher value.
  • Ecuador: Lundin Gold developed the Fruta del Norte gold mine in the southeast part of the country, which achieved commercial production in February 2020.

The United States remained the top country by value for CMAs abroad in 2019, accounting for 20.3% of the total. The cumulative value of CMAs in the United States increased by an impressive 33.3% to $36.1 billion in 2019. The increase was largely attributable to a combination of Nevada gold assets in a joint venture between Barrick and United States–based Newmont, which established the world’s largest gold complex. Barrick holds a 61.5% interest and is the operator of the joint venture.

The value of CMAs located in Asia declined slightly by 2.4% to $8.6 billion in 2019. The decline is attributable to depreciation, depletion of mining assets in the region and exchange rates.

In Europe, the value of CMAs declined by 11.2% to $8.8 billion in 2019. A notable portion of the decline resulted from the acquisition of Nevsun Resources and its stake in the Timok copper-gold development project in Serbia by Zijin Mining Group Co. of China. A contributing factor was an impairment expense recorded by First Quantum against the value of its Las Cruces copper mine, in Spain.

CMAs located in Oceania declined by 13.0% to $3.8 billion in 2019. The decline occurred as a result of Barrick’s sale of its 50% stake in the Super Pit gold mine to Saracen Mineral Holdings of Australia and the bankruptcy of Nautilus Minerals, which held assets in Papua New Guinea.

Canadian mining assets located abroad, by country

Almost three quarters (73.7%) of the total value of CMAs abroad are located in the top 10 countries. Country rankings changed significantly from 2018 as a result of the sale of America-focused Goldcorp to Newmont and Barrick’s acquisition of Randgold. While countries in the Americas continue to dominate, African countries increased their representation with the addition of Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Figure 2 shows the distribution of CMAs abroad for the top 10 countries.

Figure 2: Percentage of CMAs abroad, by country, 2019 (p)

Figure 2: Percentage of CMAs abroad, by country, 2019
Text version

This pie chart shows the 10 leading countries with CMAs abroad in 2019. The top country is the United States (20.3%), followed by Chile (10.4%), Panama (9.0%), Brazil (6.2%), Zambia (5.7%), Peru (5.3%), Mexico (4.5%), Argentina (4.4%), Mali (4.4%) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (3.4%).

Source: Natural Resources Canada.
(p) preliminary.

Canadian mining assets, by company type

In 2019, the overall value of CMAs held by junior companiesFootnote 4 remained stable at $17.0 billion, while the number of companies declined from 1,165 to 1,131. This decline in companies was due to mergers and acquisitions, industry departures and companies becoming dormant or ceasing to exist. Junior companies accounted for almost 90% of the total number of companies and 6.5% of the total value of CMAs in 2019. The largest share of their assets abroad (43.3%) was located in the Americas, while a larger proportion of their CMAs (47.7%) was situated in Canada. Figure 3 provides an overview of the total value of CMAs held by junior companies, by region.

Figure 3: CMAs of junior companies, by region, 2018 and 2019 (p)

Figure 3: CMAs of junior companies, by region, 2018 and 2019
Text version

This column chart shows the geographic distribution of CMAs of junior companies in 2018 and 2019. CMAs in Canada and elsewhere in the Americas increased from 2018, to $8.1 billion and $7.4 billion respectively. In Africa, Oceania and Asia, CMAs are valued at $0.5 billion, $0.4 billion and $0.3 billion respectively in 2019, a decline from 2018. In Europe, they are valued at $0.3 billion in 2019, slightly higher than in 2018.

Source: Natural Resources Canada.
(p) preliminary.

In 2019, the total value of CMAs held by senior companiesFootnote 4 declined by 1.3% to $246.4 billion. Senior companies accounted for 93.5% of the total value of CMAs and about 10% of the number of companies. A large share of the CMAs is concentrated in the top 10 senior companies, that accounted for two thirds of the total value of CMAs, with a cumulative value of $173.5 billion.

Relative to junior companies, senior companies held a smaller proportion of CMAs value in Canada (31.4%) and a higher proportion in the rest of the Americas (45.2%). Figure 4 provides an overview of the total value of CMAs held by senior companies, by region.

Figure 4: CMAs of senior companies, by region, 2018 and 2019 (p)

Figure 4: CMAs of senior companies, by region, 2018 and 2019 (p)
Text version

This column chart shows the geographic distribution of CMAs of senior companies in 2018 and 2019. In the Americas (except Canada), they were valued at approximately $111 billion in 2019, slightly lower than in 2018. In Canada, they were worth about $77 billion in 2019 and $84 billion in 2018. The value of those in Africa was $37 billion in 2019, much higher than their 2018 value of $26 billion. In Europe, Asia and Oceania, CMAs were valued at $9 billion, $8 billion and $3 billion respectively in 2019 and have declined from 2018.

Source: Natural Resources Canada.
(p) preliminary.

Annual variations

In comparing changes in asset totals across years, it is important to consider the causes of variations. A significant portion of additions to the value of assets results from purchases and expenditures for mine development and construction. Reductions in the value of assets held by companies result mostly from sales, asset impairment
expensesFootnote3, write-offs, depreciation, depletion and mine closures. Changes in exchange rates, accounting methods and relocation of company headquarters also contribute to annual variations.

Use of statistics on Canadian mining assets located abroad

Data on CMAs abroad provides a picture of the global presence of Canada’s mining and exploration companies and the scope of that presence in any given country. Some care is required when consulting the value of Canadian mining assets in a country. CMAs abroad, as tracked by Natural Resources Canada, differ from Canadian direct investment abroad (CDIA) figures estimated by Statistics Canada. CDIA is based on foreign direct investment as defined internationally, based on national systems of accounts. CMAs abroad are based on financial accounting standards applied by Canadian public companies and auditors. Table 2 outlines the principal differences between these approaches.

Table 2: CDIA compared to CMAs abroad
CDIA CMAs abroad
Source of financing must be Canadian Source of financing is immaterial
All assets and liabilities are examined Only non-current mining asset values are examined
Based on first destination (investment destined for Mexico through a U.S. subsidiary is allocated to the United States) Based on final destination (the transaction in the left column would be considered CMAs abroad located in Mexico)
Canadian company: incorporated in Canada with foreign affiliates Canadian company: headquarters in Canada and not foreign controlled
Limited data by region for mining CMAs abroad data by country

Source: Natural Resources Canada.

Annex 1: Canadian mining assets, by country and region, 2018 and 2019

Note

All amounts are in Canadian dollars.

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