ARCHIVED - Canada is a Global Mineral Exploration and Mining Giant

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Engine for Growth

Canada is one of the largest mining nations in the world, operating in over 100 countries. There are more than 200 active mines in Canada, producing more than 60 minerals and metals.

The total value of Canadian mineral exports was $92.4 billion in 2012, accounting for 20.3 percent of Canada’s total exports. Key exports included aluminum, nickel, copper, gold, silver, uranium, coal, potash, zinc, diamonds, iron, steel and iron ore. The mining and mineral processing industries made significant contributions to the Canadian economy in 2011, including more than $17 billion in capital investment, $63 billion in nominal GDP and $24.7 billion in trade surplus.

In 2011 alone, the mining sector contributed $63 billion to Canada's nominal GDP, accounting for 3.9 percent of total GDP, while mining and processing companies paid some $7.1 billion in corporate taxes and royalties that help support the programs and services that Canadians in every part of the country use every day, from roads and bridges to education and health care.

Mineral Exploration

According to the Mining Association of Canada’s latest Facts & Figures report, Canada's mining industry broke records in 2011 for exploration spending, production and exports. Canada remained the world's top destination for mineral exploration in 2012, attracting 16 percent of budgeted spending.

Canada is also a world-leader in raising equity for mineral exploration and development. In fact, in 2011, almost 40 percent of the world’s equity financing for mineral exploration and mining was raised by companies listed on Canadian stock exchanges. Canadian-headquartered mining companies accounted for nearly 37 percent of budgeted worldwide exploration expenditures in 2012. Total exploration expenditures within Canada were about $3.9 billion in 2012.

Public Geoscience

Natural Resources Canada’s Geo-Mapping for Energy and Minerals program (GEM) focuses on modernizing geoscience knowledge in the North, while the complementary Targeted Geoscience Initiative-4 (TGI-4) is a national program that provides industry with new ore deposit models and innovative tools for discovery of deep deposits. Both programs ensure that government and industry can make informed decisions about resource development. By having a better understanding of where new mineral deposits are located and their potential size, investment risk is minimized and exploration and mining projects have a better chance to get off the ground.

New public geoscience knowledge created under GEM helps to attract investment to the North and is enabling Northerners to make informed decisions about their future economy and society. Since 2008, GEM has completed 20 projects, finished 34 regional geophysical surveys and published 644 open-file releases of new geoscience data. The program’s latest releases include new geophysical data to guide exploration for base and precious metals ― like gold and chromite ― in the Pelly Lake region of Nunavut, as well as new geological maps that provide context for gold and copper occurrences in the Dawson Range-White Gold district of the Yukon. GEM’s open file releases are available at:

Investing in Canada’s Mining Industry

Canada continues to welcome foreign investment in minerals and metals industries. According to the latest Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies, five of the top ten preferred jurisdictions for mining investment are Canadian.

Canada has one of the lowest tax rates on new business investment among the G-7. Strong incentives such as the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance and the Canadian Exploration Expense also encourage investment by allowing for the recovery of most capital costs prior to the payment of taxes.

Exploration and Mining Guide for Aboriginal Communities

Originally issued in 2006, the updated guide provides an overview of all aspects of the mining cycle to enable Aboriginal peoples to make informed decisions and take advantage of the social-economic opportunities that mining offers.

The guide is part of a suite of mining information products developed by Natural Resources Canada. It was produced in partnership with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the Mining Association of Canada, the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada and the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association.

Media may contact: 

David Provencher
Press Secretary
Office of Canada’s Minister of Natural Resource

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada