Canadian Mining Assets

Information Bulletin

(Published in February 2019)

Note: All amounts are in Canadian dollars.

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

The total value of CMAs amounted to $260.1 billion in 2017, a 1.1% increase from $257.2 billion in 2016. This total was held by 1,364 companies. Of these companies, 699 had CMAs located abroad worth $168.7 billion, which was up 1.4% from the 2016 value of $166.4 billion.

Canadian companies were present in 101 foreign countries in 2017. Their presence increased slightly from 2016 (99 countries), but was below the peak of 2011 (110 countries). Mining assets held abroad accounts for about two thirds of the total value of CMAs.

Results for 2017 mark a return to a modest positive trend following what was the first year-over-year decline in 2016. The increase occurred despite the lower value of the US dollar against its Canadian counterpart in 2017.

The exchange rate affects the CMAs values of companies that report their financial results in US dollars, which accounts for about 80% of the total value. A weaker US dollar in 2017 had the effect of reducing growth in the values of CMAs by about 4% compared to the previous year.

Canadian mining assets located abroad, by region

In 2017, CMAs experienced gains in value in the Americas and Asia, while registering declines in Africa, Europe and Oceania. Table 1 displays the value and percentage variation of CMAs, by region, between 2016 and 2017.

Table 1: Canadian mining assets, by region, 2016 and 2017 (p)
Region 2016 2017 (p) Change Change  (%)
($ billions)
Africa 27.2 26.3 -1.0 -3.5
Americas (except Canada) 114.4 117.9 3.5 3.1
Asia 10.0 10.2 0.2 1.8
Europe 10.0 9.7 -0.3 -3.2
Oceania 4.7 4.6 -0.1 -2.4
Total for CMAs abroad 166.4 168.7 2.3 1.4
Canada 90.8 91.4 0.6 0.7
Total for CMAs 257.2 260.1 2.9 1.1

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

The overall value of CMAs abroad located in Africa declined by 3.5% or $954 million in 2017. Two of the top three countries in terms of value (Zambia, Burkina Faso and Mauritania) experienced gains, which were more than offset by a decline in asset values held in Madagascar.

Click for details on notable developments contributing to changes in the values of CMAs abroad located in Africa

Burkina Faso (+$834 million): Trevali Mining acquired a 90% interest in the Perkoa zinc mine from Glencore.

Madagascar (-$1.9 billion): Sherritt International restructured the Ambatovy Joint Venture to eliminate debt, reducing its interest in the joint venture from 40% to 12%. Sherritt continues to operate the Ambatovy mine, one of the world’s largest lateritic nickel and cobalt operations.

Mauritania (+$538 million): Kinross Gold completed the first phase of expansion at the Tasiast gold mine.

Tanzania (-$946 million): Barrick Gold recorded a decrease in value related to assets held through its interest in Acacia Mining.

The majority of CMAs abroad (70%) is located in the Western Hemisphere (the Americas), where the value of assets declined slightly compared to the previous year. Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for 55% of CMAs abroad, with a value of $93.1 billion in 2017. Total value in the region was up 3.6% year over year. Notable increases in Panama and the Dominican Republic offset declines in Argentina and Brazil.

Click for details on notable developments contributing to changes in the values of CMAs abroad located in Latin America

Argentina (-$1.2 billion): Barrick Gold sold 50% of its interest in the Veladero gold mine to Shandong Gold Group (China). Yamana Gold recorded a decrease in value at its Gualcamayo mine. This resulted from the reclassification of its assets being held for sale (current assets) when it was looking for a buyer, which offset the value associated with construction of its Cerro Moro gold mine.

Brazil (-$412.1 million): Kinross Gold recorded a decrease in value at its Paracatu gold mine.

Chile (+$614.0 million): Following the partial sale of the Cerro Casale gold mine to Goldcorp, Barrick Gold reversed a decrease in value. Goldcorp acquired Exeter Resource and its Caspiche project (now the Norte Abierto Project), which it contributed to its joint venture with Barrick.

Mexico (+$504.2 million): Goldcorp made investments at its Peñasquito gold mine.

Panama (+$2.5 billion): First Quantum Minerals continued to develop the Cobre Panama copper mine, which was 63% completed at the end of 2017. The company increased its interest in the project to 90%, by acquiring from LS-Nikko Copper (South Korea) a 50% interest in the Korea Panama Mining Corp., which, in turn, holds a 20% interest in Cobre Panama.

In the United States, the number of Canadian mining and exploration companies increased from 257 to 286 in 2017, but the cumulative value of their mining assets was almost unchanged at $24.9 billion compared to the previous year. The United States remained the top location by value for CMAs abroad, accounting for 15% of the total.

Following a few years of significant fluctuations in the value of CMAs abroad located in Asia, the total value was stable in 2017, with a 1.8% year-over-year increase to $10.2 billion.

In Europe, the values of CMAs abroad fell by 3.2% in 2017, mostly as a result of declines registered in Russia (-$239 million) and Spain (-$219 million), that were related to depletion and depreciation.

CMAs abroad located in Oceania declined by 2.4% to $4.6 billion in 2017. Almost 80% of the total value in this region was located in Australia (+$66.4 million). The decline was mostly the result of Era Resources becoming a private company subsequent to the Sentient Group (Cayman Islands) gaining majority control of the firm. The principal asset of Era Resources is the Yandera copper project in Papua New Guinea (-$185 million).

Check Figure 1 for a detailed regional breakdown of mining asset values.

Figure 1: Geographic distribution of Canadian mining assets, 2017 (p)
(1,364 companies with $260.1 billion in mining and exploration assets)

Figure 1: Geographic distribution of Canadian mining assets, 2017 (preliminary)
Text version

In this world map, countries are colour-coded according to a range of values for Canadian Mining Assets (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 2016 and 2017 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: Totals may be different because of rounding.

Canadian mining assets located abroad, by country

Three quarters of the total value of CMAs abroad were located in 10 countries. Country rankings were unchanged from 2016 with the exception of Panama and Brazil, 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, 2017 (p)

Figure 2: Percentage of Canadian mining assets abroad, by country, 2017 (preliminary)
Text version

This pie chart shows the 10 leading countries with CMAs abroad in 2017. The top country is the United States (15%), followed by Mexico (11%), Chile (11%), Argentina (8%), Panama (7%), Brazil (6%) and Peru (6%), Zambia (5%), the Dominican Republic (4%) and China (2%).

Source: Natural Resources Canada.
(p) preliminary.

Canadian mining assets, by company type

In 2017, the overall value of CMAs held by junior companiesFootnote 3 increased by 16.6% to $16.3 billion, while the number of companies declined from 1,225 to 1,192. This decline is 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 2017. The largest share of the value of their assets (43%) was located in Canada, with an almost equal amount (42%) situated elsewhere in the Americas. 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, 2016 and 2017 (p)

Figure 3: Canadian mining assets of junior companies, by region, 2016 and 2017 (preliminary)
Text version

This column chart shows the geographic distribution of CMAs of junior companies in 2016 and 2017. Those in Canada are worth about $7 billion, having increased in 2017. Elsewhere in the Americas they have also increased in 2017 to just under $7 billion. In Africa, they are valued at approximately $1 billion, slightly lower than in 2016. In Oceania, Asia and Europe, they are valued at approximately $0.7 billion, $0.4 billion, and $0.4 billion respectively, and have slightly increased from 2016.

Source: Natural Resources Canada.
(p) preliminary.

In 2017, the total value of CMAs belonging to senior companies was virtually unchanged at $244 billion compared to the previous year. Senior companies accounted for over 90% of the total value of CMAs. The top 10 companies accounted for over 60% of the total, with a cumulative value of $159.5 billion.

Still in terms of value, a smaller portion of the assets held by senior companies was located in Canada (35%), while a large portion was situated in the rest of the Americas (46%). Check Figure 4 for an overview of the total value of CMAs held by senior companies, by region.

Figure 4: Canadian mining assets of senior companies, by region, 2016 and 2017 (p)

Figure 4: Canadian mining assets of senior companies, by region, 2016 and 2017 (preliminary)
Text version

This column chart shows the geographic distribution of CMAs of senior companies in 2016 and 2017. In the Americas (except Canada), they were worth approximately $111 billion in 2017, slightly higher than in 2016. In Canada, they were worth about $84 billion in 2017 and $85 billion in 2016. The value of those in Africa was about $25 billion in 2017, slightly lower than in 2016. In Europe and Asia, the value was about $10 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 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 (FDI) 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, 2016 and 2017