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Canadian Mining Assets

Information Bulletin

(Published in June 2020)

Canada is home to almost half of the world’s publicly listed mining and exploration companiesFootnote 1. Many of these companies are active not only within Canada but also abroad where they have sizeable operations.

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 1,342 Canadian mining and exploration companies had CMAs valued at $271.6 billion in 2018, a 4.0% increase from $261.2 billion in 2017. Of these companies, 650 had CMAs located abroad worth $174.4 billion, which was up 3.6% from the 2017 value of $167.4 billion.

Canadian companies were present in 100 foreign countries in 2018. Their presence was slightly lower than the previous year (101 countries). Mining assets held abroad accounted for about two thirds of the total value of CMAs.

Results for 2018 mark the highest increase in CMAs since 2014. This is largely due to an increase in the value of the US dollar against its Canadian counterpart.

The exchange rate affects the CMAs value of companies that report their financial results in US dollars, which accounts for about 80% of the total value. A stronger US dollar in December 2018 had the effect of increasing the value of CMAs by about 5% compared to the same period the previous year.

Canadian mining assets located abroad, by region

In 2018, CMAs experienced gains in value in all regions except for Asia and Oceania. 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 2017 and 2018.

Figure 1: Geographic distribution of Canadian mining assets, 2018 (p)
(1,342 companies with $271.6 billion in mining and exploration assets)

Figure 1: Geographic distribution of Canadian mining assets, 2018
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 continent and for Canada, the United States and Mexico individually, the 2017 and 2018 asset values are listed along with the number of Canadian-based companies with assets in that region. 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, 2017 and 2018 (p)
Region 2017 2018 (p) Change Change  (%)
($ billions)
Africa 25.4 26.2 0.8 3.2
Americas (except Canada) 117.7 125.0 7.3 6.2
Asia 10.1 9.1 -1.0 -10.2
Europe 9.8 9.8 0.0 0.3
Oceania 4.4 4.3 0.0 -0.9
Total for CMAs abroad 167.4 174.4 7.1 4.2
Canada 93.8 97.2 3.4 3.6
Total for CMAs 261.2 271.6 10.5 4.0

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

Africa had the second-highest value of CMAs with an increase of 3.2% to $26.2 billion in 2018. Notable increases in the CMAs value were registered in Burkina Faso (+$817 million) and Mauritania (+$473 million). They were partly offset by declines in Ghana (‑$543 million) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (‑$346 million). Noteworthy events contributing to these changes included:

  • Burkina Faso: Teranga Gold continued to develop the Wahgnion gold mine, which achieved first gold pour in August 2019.
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo: Banro, which had two operating gold mines in the country, delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange and redomiciled to the Cayman Islands.
  • Ghana: Asanko Gold sold half of its 90% interest in the Asanko gold mine to Gold Fields, a large gold mining company based in South Africa.
  • Mauritania: Kinross Gold completed the first phase of expansion at the Tasiast gold mine, which achieved commercial production in the third quarter of 2018. Kinross is now proceeding with the Tasiast 24k project, which is expected to gradually increase throughput to reach 24,000 tonnes per day by mid-2023.

The majority of CMAs abroad (72%) was located in the Western Hemisphere (the Americas), where the value of assets increased by 4.5% to $125.0 billion in 2018. A large portion of the value was situated in the regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. This portion accounted for 58% of CMAs abroad with a value of $100.4 billion in 2018, which was up 6.1% compared to the previous year. With regard to individual countries, notable gains were recorded in Panama (+$3.9 billion), Chile (+$1.3 billion), the Dominican Republic (+$786.7 million) and Ecuador (+$519 million), while declines were registered in Argentina (‑$868.2 million) and Mexico (‑$488.7 million). Noteworthy contributing factors included:

  • Argentina and Mexico: Newmont Goldcorp recorded an impairment expenseFootnote 3 against the carrying amount of its Cerro Negro gold mine in Argentina and the Peñasquito mine in Mexico in the fourth quarter of 2018. The expense was the result of Newmont’s offer to acquire Goldcorp and reflected the difference between the value of that offer and the book value of Goldcorp’s assets. The transaction was completed in April 2019 and will result in the exclusion of Goldcorp’s assets from the value of CMAs in 2019, because Newmont Goldcorp is domiciled in the United States.
  • Chile: Teck Resources extended its interest in the Quebrada Blanca copper mine and initiated investments for phase 2 of the project, which was approved by the company in December 2018. Lundin Mining advanced projects at its Candelaria copper mine, including mill optimization, underground development and mine fleet replacement. Nutrien sold its shares in Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile to China’s Tianqi Lithium.
  • Dominican Republic: Barrick (60%) and Newmont Goldcorp (40%) secured permits and initiated construction on a new pipeline to convert a power generation facility from heavy fuel oil to natural gas. Fuel switching is anticipated to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 260,000 CO2-equivalent tonnes. The power generation facility being converted supplies the Pueblo Viejo Mine.
  • Ecuador: Lundin Gold is developing the Fruta del Norte gold mine in the southeast part of the country.
  • Panama: First Quantum Minerals continued to develop the Cobre Panama copper mine (US$6.3 billion), which was substantially completed by the end of 2018 and achieved commercial production in September 2019.

The United States remained the top country by value for CMAs abroad in 2018, accounting for 14.1% of the total. The cumulative value of CMAs in the United States increased by 6.8% to $24.6 billion in 2018. The increase was widespread across companies and projects, including those of Barrick Gold and Kinross Gold, which have significant mining assets in the United States.

The value of CMAs located in Asia declined by 10.2% to $9.1 billion. This decline was largely due to Nutrien’s sale of its interests in Arab Potash Company (Jordan) and Israel Chemicals, which is a company involved in the value chains of potash and phosphate.

In Europe, the value of CMAs was stable between 2017 and 2018 at $9.8 billion. Declines in the value of CMAs in Spain (‑$256.8 million) and Greece (‑$244.6 million) were offset by increases in Finland (+$278.9 million) and Portugal (+$254.0 million).

CMAs located in Oceania declined slightly by 0.9% to $4.3 billion in 2018. Almost 80% of the total value in this region was located in Australia, where First Quantum Minerals, Kirkland Lake Gold and Barrick Gold held significant assets.

Canadian mining assets located abroad, by country

Over three quarters of the total value of CMAs abroad were located in 10 countries. Country rankings were unchanged from 2017 with the exception of Panama and Argentina, which traded places. Figure 2 shows the distribution of CMAs abroad for the top 10 countries.

 

Figure 2: Percentage of Canadian mining assets abroad, by country, 2018 (p)

Figure 2: Percentage of Canadian mining assets abroad, by country, 2018
Text version

This pie chart shows the 10 leading countries with CMAs abroad in 2018. The top country is the United States (14%), followed by Mexico (12%), Chile (11%), Panama (9%), Argentina (7%), Brazil (6%), Peru (5%), Zambia (5%), the Dominican Republic (5%) and China (2%).

Source: Natural Resources Canada.
(p) preliminary.

Canadian mining assets, by company type

In 2018, the overall value of CMAs held by junior companiesFootnote 4 increased by 13.7% to $17.2 billion, while the number of companies declined from 1,181 to 1,171. This decline in companies was due to mergers or acquisitions, industry departures and companies becoming dormant or ceasing to exist. Junior companies accounted for almost 90% of the total number of companies and approximately 6% of the total value of CMAs in 2018. The largest share of their assets abroad (44.1%) was located in the Americas, with an almost equal amount (44.0%) situated in Canada. Figure 3 provides an overview of the total value of CMAs held by junior companies, by region.

Figure 3: Canadian mining assets of junior companies, by region, 2017 and 2018 (p)

Figure 3: Canadian mining assets of junior companies, by region, 2017 and 2018
Text version

This column chart shows the geographic distribution of CMAs of junior companies in 2017 and 2018. Those in Canada and elsewhere in the Americas are worth about $7.5 billion, having increased in 2018. In Africa, Oceania and Europe, they are valued at approximately $0.7 billion, $0.6 billion, and $0.4 billion respectively, and have slightly increased from 2017. In Asia, they are valued at approximately $0.3 billion, which is slightly lower than in 2017.

Source: Natural Resources Canada.
(p) preliminary.

In 2018, the total value of CMAs held by senior companiesFootnote 4 increased by 3.4% to $254.4 billion. Senior companies accounted for 90% of the total value of CMAs and about 10% of the number of companies. The top 10 senior companies accounted for over 60% of the total value of CMAs, with a cumulative value of $159.5 billion.

When compared to junior companies, senior companies held a smaller proportion of CMAs value in Canada (35.2%) and a larger portion in the rest of the Americas (46.1%). Figure 4 provides an overview of the total value of CMAs held by senior companies, by region.

Figure 4: Canadian mining assets of senior companies, by region, 2017 and 2018 (p)

Figure 4: Canadian mining assets of senior companies, by region, 2017 and 2018 (preliminary)
Text version

This column chart shows the geographic distribution of CMAs of senior companies in 2017 and 2018. In the Americas (except Canada), they were worth approximately $117 billion in 2018, slightly higher than in 2017. In Canada, they were worth about $90 billion in 2018 and $87 billion in 2017. The value of those in Africa was about $26 billion in 2018, slightly higher than in 2017. In Europe and Asia, the value was about $9 billion, both years. And in Oceania, the value was about $4 billion, both years.

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 number of assets comes from development and construction activities. Reductions of the value of assets held by companies are the result of impairment expensesFootnote 3, write-offs, decreases, depreciation, depletion, sales and mine closures. Exchange rate movements, changes in accounting methods, mergers and acquisitions, 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 US 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, 2017 and 2018

Note

All amounts are in Canadian dollars.

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