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Publications and Reports @ NRCan - Additional Statistics - Minerals and Metals

  • Canada is one of the leading mining nations in the world, producing more than 60 minerals and metals.
  • In 2010, more than 220 principal producing mines (metal, non-metals and coal mines), more than 3000 stone quarries and sand and gravel pits, and about 50 non-ferrous smelters and refineries and steel mills were operating in Canada.
  • Canada’s estimated mineral production in 2010 was $41.3 billion; more than 80 percent of the total was accounted for by Ontario (18.6 percent), Saskatchewan (17.2 percent), British Columbia (17.1 percent), Quebec (16.4 percent), and Newfoundland and Labrador (11.1 percent).

National Economic Importance

  • In 2010, mining and mineral-processing industries generated 2.8 percent of the national GDP and contributed $34.7 billion to the Canadian economy.
  • The 2010 exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures were $3.4 billion, and revised spending intentions for 2011 indicate an increase to $4.6 billion.
  • Capital investment spending in the mining and mineral-processing industries was $12.6 billion in 2010. These industries were responsible for 3.7 percent of all capital investment in Canada. Spending intentions for 2011 are expected to reach $16.1 billion.
  • In 2010, total direct employment in the mining and mineral-processing industries – 308 000 people – accounted for 2.1 percent of Canada’s total employment. Approximately 53 000 people were employed in mining, 61 000 people were employed in smelting and refining, and 194 000 people were employed in the mineral-processing and manufacturing industries.
  • Wages and salaries remained very competitive in mining and mineral-processing industries, with 2010 average weekly earnings at $1,079. Weekly earnings in the Canadian economy averaged $853.
  • In 2010, iron ore was the top metallic mineral produced in Canada, with shipments valued at $5.0 billion, followed by gold at $3.9 billion and copper at $3.8 billion. The leading non-metallic minerals were potash, which had a value of $5.7 billion; diamonds, at $2.3 billion; and cement, at $1.5 billion. Coal had the second-largest value of production, with shipments valued at $5.5 billion.
  • Canada continues to be the third-largest producer of primary aluminum in the world, producing about 3.0 million t from imported ores in 2010.
  • Mineral and metals products (including coal) accounted for almost 35 percent of coastwise shipping and more than 52 percent of international shipping in 2008. They also accounted for 56 percent of the country’s rail freight traffic in 2010.
Table 4. Minerals and metal facts
Commodities World production
ranking 2010*
by volume
Domestic exports 2010 Destination
Total mineral products $81.4 B U.S. $42.9 B (53%)
E.U. $18.2 B (22%)
China $4.6 B (6%)
Selected metals
Uranium Second
$1.8 B U.K. $0.7 B (40%)
U.S. $0.6 B (33%)
Nickel Fourth
$5.0 B Norway $1.8 B (36%)
U.K. $0.9 B (17%)
Zinc Sixth
$1.7 B U.S. $1.3 B (77%)
Gold Ninth
$15.1 B U.K. $8.4 B (56%)
U.S. $5.5 B (36%)
Copper Ninth
$5.2 B U.S. $2.8 B (54%)
China $0.9 B (17%)
Selected non-metals
Potash First
$5.2 B U.S. $3.1 B (60%)
India $0.5 B (9%)
Diamonds Fifth
$2.6 B U.K. $1.7 B (65%)
Belgium $0.7 B (28%)
Salt Fifth
$0.6 B U.S. $0.4 B (85%)
Gypsum Ninth
$0.1 B U.S. $0.1 B (91%)

E.U. – European Union (27 countries)
U.K. – United Kingdom
U.S. – United States
* United States Geological Survey preliminary data for 2010.

Figure 5. Selected mining activities

Selected mining activities: Metal mines; Diamond mines; Metallurgical works
[text version - Figure 5]

For a complete map of the principal producing mines in Canada, visit

International Importance

  • Canada is one of the world’s leading exporters of minerals and mineral products. These products make a significant contribution to Canada’s international trade, accounting for 21.8 percent of Canada’s domestic exports in 2010.
  • Canada continues to be the world’s leader in the production (by volume) of potash, and it ranks in the top five countries for the production of primary aluminum, cadmium, molybdenum, nickel, platinum group metals, salt, titanium concentrates, elemental sulphur and uranium. Canada ranks third in the world in the value of diamond production.
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