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Canadian Mining Assets

Information Bulletin
(published in January 2022)

Canada is home to almost half of the world’s publicly listed mining and mineral exploration companiesFootnote 1. Many companies active within Canada also 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 located abroad, by country
Canadian mining assets, by company type
Annual variations
Use of statistics on Canadian mining assets located abroad

Overview

A total of 1,348 Canadian mining and exploration companies had CMAs valued at $273.4 billion in 2020, a slight 3.7% increase from $263.6 billion in 2019. Of these companies, 730 had CMAs located abroad worth $188.2 billion, which was up 4.3% from the 2019 value of $180.5 billion.

Canadian companies were present in 97 foreign countries in 2020, down from 99 countries in 2019. Mining assets abroad accounted for about two thirds of the total value of CMAs.

Fluctuating exchange rates affect the CMAs values of companies that report their financial results in US dollars, which account for about 80% of total CMAs. A depreciation of the value of the Canadian dollar against the US dollar between 2019 and 2020 had an upwards impact of 2.3% on the value of CMAs.

Canadian mining assets located abroad, by region

In 2020, CMAs increased in all regions except Central America and the Caribbean, and Africa. Figure 1 provides a detailed geographic breakdown of mining asset values and Table 1 displays the value and percentage variation of CMAs by region between 2019 and 2020.

Figure 1: Geographic distribution of CMAs, 2020 (p)
(1,348 companies with $273.4 billion in mining and mineral exploration assets)

Figure 1: Geographic distribution of Canadian mining assets, 2020
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 2019 and 2020 CMAs 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: CMAs, by region, 2019 and 2020 (p)
Region 2019 2020 (p) Change Change  
($ billions) (%)
Africa 37.4 36.5 -0.9 -2.4
Americas (except Canada) 121.9 125.4 3.5 2.8
Asia 8.5 12.4 3.9 46.7
Europe 8.9 9.1 0.3 2.9
Oceania 3.8 4.5 0.7 18.8
Total for CMAs abroad 180.5 188.0 7.5 4.2
Canada 83.1 85.4 2.3 2.7
Total for CMAs 263.6 273.4 9.8 3.7

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

Africa had the second-highest value of CMAs and that value declined slightly by 2.4% to $36.5 billion in 2020. The most significant decreases in CMAs values were registered in Burkina Faso (-$1.5 billion) and Madagascar (-$0.6 billion). These decreases were partly offset by an increase in Tanzania ($1.0 billion). Noteworthy events contributing to these changes included:

  • Burkina Faso: Quebec-based SEMAFO Inc. was acquired by U.K.-based Endeavour Mining.
  • Madagascar: Sherritt International withdrew from the Ambatovy joint venture.
  • Tanzania: Barrick Gold recorded a significant impairment reversalFootnote 3 following the establishment of a joint venture with the Government of Tanzania.

The majority of CMAs abroad (67%) were located in the Western Hemisphere (the Americas), where the value of assets increased by 2.8% to $125.4 billion in 2020. A large portion of the value was situated in the regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. This portion accounted for 45.4% of CMAs abroad with a value of $85.4 billion in 2020, up 4.1% from the previous year. Notable increases in Chile ($3.0 billion) and Mexico ($1.1 billion) were partially offset by declines in Brazil (-$0.6 billion), Colombia (-$0.6 billion) and Panama (-$0.5 billion). Contributing factors included:

  • Chile: Teck Resources and its partners continued to develop the large Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 copper mine, which is anticipated to start production in the second half of 2022.
  • Colombia: The Zijin Mining Group of China bought Continental Gold and acquired control of the Buritica gold project.
  • Mexico: Canadian Equinox Gold acquired Leagold Mining, another Canadian company, and the Los Filos mine complex.

The United States remained the top country by value for CMAs abroad in 2020, accounting for 21.2% of the total. The cumulative value of CMAs in the United States was $40.0 billion in 2020, which almost remained unchanged compared to the 2019 value of $39.9 billion.

The value of CMAs located in Asia surged by 46.7% to $12.4 billion in 2020. The increase was largely attributable to the acquisition of U.S.-based Alacer Gold and of the Çöpler gold mine in Turkey by SSR Mining.

In Europe, the value of CMAs increased by 2.9% to $9.1 billion in 2020. Contributing to the increase were investments by Agnico Eagle Mines at its Kittila gold mine in Finland.

CMAs located in Oceania increased by 18.8% to $4.5 billion in 2020. The increase was partly attributable to investments by Novo Resources to advance its Beatons Creek gold project and Karora Resources’ Beta Hunt gold mine, both located in Australia.

Canadian mining assets located abroad, by country

Almost three quarters (73.5%) of the total value of CMAs abroad were located in the top 10 countries. Country rankings remained unchanged between 2019 and 2020, with the exception of Peru that moved up to fifth place and Zambia that moved down to the sixth spot. Figure 2 shows the 2020 distribution of CMAs abroad for the top 10 countries.

Figure 2: Percentage of CMAs abroad, by country, 2020 (p)

Figure 2: Percentage of CMAs abroad, by country, 2020
Text version

This pie chart shows the 10 leading countries with CMAs abroad in 2020. The top country is the United States (21.3%), followed by Chile (11.3%), Panama (8.2%), Brazil (5.7%), Peru (5.3%), Zambia (5.0%), Mexico (4.8%), Argentina (4.5%), Mali (4.0%) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (3.4%).

Source: Natural Resources Canada.
(p) preliminary.

Canadian mining assets, by company type

In 2020, the overall value of CMAs held by junior companiesFootnote 4 increased by 3.8% to $14.9 billion, while the number of companies increased from 1,157 to 1,187. Junior companies accounted for 88.1% of the total number of companies and 5.4% of the total value of CMAs in 2020. The largest share of their assets was held in Canada (51.2%), followed by the Americas (except Canada) (36.0%). 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, 2019 and 2020 (p)

Figure 3: CMAs of junior companies, by region, 2019 and 2020
Text version

This column chart shows the geographic distribution of CMAs of junior companies in 2019 and 2020. CMAs increased to $7.6 billion in Canada, $0.7 billion in Oceania, $0.6 billion in Africa and $0.4 billion in Europe. CMAs decreased to $5.4 billion in the Americas (except Canada) and $0.3 billion in Asia.

Source: Natural Resources Canada.
(p) preliminary.

In 2020, the total value of CMAs held by senior companiesFootnote 4 increased by 3.7% to $258.5 billion. Senior companies accounted for 94.6% of the total value of CMAs and 11.9% of the number of companies. A large share of the CMAs was concentrated in the top 10 senior companies, which accounted for two thirds of the total value of CMAs and a cumulative value of $180.6 billion.

Relative to junior companies, senior companies held a smaller proportion of CMAs values in Canada (30.1%) and a higher proportion in the rest of the Americas (46.4%). 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, 2019 and 2020 (p)

Figure 4: CMAs of senior companies, by region, 2019 and 2020 (p)
Text version

This column chart shows the geographic distribution of CMAs of senior companies in 2019 and 2020. In the Americas (except Canada), they were valued at approximately $120 billion in 2020, slightly higher than in 2019. In Canada, they were worth about $78 billion in 2020 and $76 billion in 2019. The value of CMAs in Africa was $36 billion in 2020, a little lower compared to $37 billion in 2019. In Asia, Europe and Oceania, CMAs were valued at $12 billion, $9 billion and $3 billion respectively in 2020 and have increased from 2019.

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 expenses Footnote3, 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 provide 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, which is 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 located abroad 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 (CMAs), by Country and Region, 2019 and 2020 (p)

Note

All amounts are in Canadian dollars.

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