Language selection

Search

Minerals and the economy

Canada is recognized as a leading mining nation. Our minerals sector, which includes exploration, mining and related support activities, primary processing, and downstream product manufacturing, is a mainstay of the economy that supports jobs and economic activity in every region.

Find out what Canada is doing to advance the economy through minerals

Green technologies and clean energy applications

Developing Canada's minerals sector in clean and sustainable ways will ensure that it can continue to contribute to the Canadian economy for years to come.

Advanced green technologies

The Green Mining Initiative, led by Natural Resources Canada in close partnership with provincial/territorial governments, industry, academia, non-governmental organizations and other interested stakeholders, such as the Canada Mining Innovation Council, aims to improve the minerals sector's environmental performance and create green technology opportunities.

Learn more about Green Mining Innovation.

Minerals and metals in clean energy applications

Canada is primed to respond to increased demand for both traditional and emerging commodities needed in the production of clean technology applications.

The country is a key global producer of copper, nickel and cobalt, and hosts a number of advanced mineral projects for rare earth elements, lithium and graphite. These commodities are crucial in the production of solar cells, high-density batteries and wind turbines.

Learn more about enabling clean energy applications.

Mineral production

Canada is the global leader in the production of potash and ranks among the top five global producers for cadmium, cobalt, diamonds, gemstones, gold, graphite, indium, nickel, niobium, platinum group metals, salt, titanium concentrate and uranium.

Canada is also the world’s fourth largest primary aluminum producer from imported bauxite.

Key facts

  • Canada produced some 60 minerals and metals at almost 200 mines and 6,500 sand, gravel and stone quarries.
  • The total value of Canada's mineral production reached $48.2 billion in 2019.
  • Gold was the top-ranked commodity by value of production in Canada in 2019 with a value of $10.3 billion.
Canada's mineral production
Text version

This graphic shows the value of Canada's mineral production: metals, $28 billion; non-metals, $15 billion; coal, $6 billion. It also shows Canada's global ranking for potash (first), gemstones (second) and platinum group metals (third).

Mineral production by commodity group

The 2019 value of Canadian mineral production was $48.2 billion, 1.8% lower than the 2018 value of $49.1 billion. Metals value of production recorded a 2.5% increase in value over the previous year, while coal and non-metals declined 5.7% and 10.6%, respectively.

Mineral production, by commodity group, 2009–2019 (p)

Mineral production, by commodity group, 2009–2018
Text version

This bar graph shows the value of mineral production by commodity group for each year from 2010 to 2019(p). Refer to the table Mineral production, by commodity group, 2010–2019 (p) for the specific values for each region.

Mineral production, by commodity group, 2010–2019 (p)
($ millions)
Commodity group 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 (p)
Metals 21,379 25,994 23,558 23,497 24,225 23,126 23,299 25,485 27,059 27,743
Non-metals 13,187 16,253 14,850 13,858 14,086 14,830 12,121 13,304 15,531 14,641
Coal 5,541 7,471 5,881 4,887 3,897 3,126 4,009 6,281 6,459 5,774
Total 40,107 49,718 44,289 42,242 42,208 41,082 39,429 45,070 49,049 48,158

Canada's top five mineral products by value for 2019 were gold, coal, iron ore, potash and copper. Their combined value was $31.6 billion, accounting for two-thirds of the total value of mineral production.

Leading minerals, by value of production, 2019 (p)

Leading minerals, by value of production, 2018
Text version

This bar graph shows the leading minerals by value of production as a percentage of the total for 2019. The top three commodities were gold (21%), coal (12%) and potash (12%).

Canada's mineral production by province and territory

Minerals are produced in every province and territory. The top four provinces, Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan, accounted for over three-quarters of Canada's total value of mineral production in 2019.

Mineral production, by province and territory, 2018 and 2019 (p)

Mineral production, by province and territory, 2017 and 2018
Text version

The bar graphs superimposed on this map of Canada show the amount of mineral production (in current dollars) for each province and territory for the years 2018 and 2019(p). The top jurisdictions by value of mineral production in 2019 were Quebec ($10.8 billion), Ontario ($10.7 billion) and British Columbia ($8.8 billion).

Mineral production, by province and territory, 2010–2019 (p)
($ millions)
Province/Territory 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 (p)
Newfoundland and Labrador 4,583 5,073 4,297 4,079 3,210 2,783 2,697 3,513 2,885 3,543
Prince Edward Island 3 3 4 4 4 5 6 5 3 3
Nova Scotia 198 197 193 188 168 192 206 248 416 419
New Brunswick 1,211 1,335 1,156 598 439 444 375 397 398 374
Quebec 6,795 8,095 7,695 7,733 8,112 7,204 7,797 8,923 10,423 10,775
Ontario 7,574 10,124 8,933 9,633 10,392 10,338 10,051 10,099 11,019 10,663
Manitoba 1,695 1,794 1,492 1,306 1,428 1,347 1,418 1,659 1,588 1,360
Saskatchewan 6,488 9,101 7,790 6,858 6,779 8,072 5,537 5,838 6,842 6,730
Alberta 1,958 2,347 2,361 2,278 2,246 2,108 2,321 1,930 2,357 2,188
British Columbia 6,943 8,717 7,543 6,812 6,503 5,882 6,424 8,996 9,783 8,800
Yukon 299 367 486 467 408 246 391 318 218 170
Northwest Territories 2,045 2,138 1,725 1,659 1,882 1,817 1,507 2,105 2,080 1,818
Nunavut 317 427 614 629 636 644 700 1,039 1,037 1,316
Total for Canada 40,109 49,718 44,289 42,244 42,207 41,082 39,430 45,070 49,049 48,159

Service suppliers

Canadian cities provide regional bases for supporting exploration, mining and allied industries through specialized equipment and service suppliers. Large urban areas, such as Toronto and Vancouver, are also recognized as global hubs for mining and mineral exploration, financing and legal services.

In 2019, more than 3,700 firms in Canada were available to provide technical, legal, financial, accounting, environmental and other expertise to the exploration and mining industry.

Transportation plays a key enabling role for the minerals sector, not only in delivering mineral products to markets, but also in bringing equipment and supplies to mining operations. The transportation industries benefit from a vibrant mining sector—mostly rail, as mining accounts for over half of Canada's rail-freight tonnage annually.

Learn more about Canadian mineral production.

Principal mineral areas, producing mines, and oil and gas fields in Canada

This map displays the locations of significant metallic, non-metallic and industrial mineral mines; oil sands mines; and gas fields across Canada.

Learn more about the available mining and minerals maps.

Mineral exploration

Mineral exploration is the search for materials in the Earth's crust, where concentration and quantity allow for extraction and processing at a profit.

Key facts

  • Preliminary figures for 2019 indicate that mining and mineral exploration companies spent $2.1 billion on exploration and deposit appraisal projects in Canada, compared with $2.5 billion in 2018.
  • 2020 expenditures are expected to be similar to 2019 at $2.1 billion, based on reported spending intentions.
  • Canadian-headquartered exploration and mining companies accounted for the largest portion of worldwide non-ferrous exploration budgets, reaching 31% in 2019.
  • Canada was among the world's top destinations for non-ferrous mineral exploration in 2019, attracting 14% of global exploration budgets.

Spending on mineral exploration and deposit appraisal activity depends largely on market conditions and commodity prices. Over the last decade, mineral and metal prices fluctuated significantly, reaching a historic high in 2011, which was followed by a period of decline that ended in 2016, when the prices of most precious and base metals began to rise again until halfway through 2018. Prices declined in the second half of 2018 but rose for most of 2019.

Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures and metals and minerals price index, 1998–2020 (si)

Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures and metals and minerals price index, 1998–2020
Text version

This line graph displays exploration and deposit appraisal spending on the left vertical axis and the Bank of Canada's metals and minerals price index on the right vertical axis, from 1998 to 2020. Peak years for both variables were in 2008 and 2011.

Mineral exploration by commodity

Canada benefits from a diversified mineral endowment that includes traditional commodities, such as gold, base metals and diamonds, as well as commodities used in clean energy applications and advanced technologies, such as rare earth elements, graphite and lithium.

Precious metals, particularly gold, remained the leading target for exploration spending ($1.2 billion), accounting for 57% of total spending in 2019

Base metals, coal and iron saw an increase in expenditures in 2019 by 6.3%, 8.3% and 13.0%, respectively. However, spending for precious metals, non-metals, and uranium declined by 22%, 25.1% and 4.1%, respectively. Spending for other metals, which includes cobalt and lithium, declined by half in 2019 as prices for these metals receded because of ample supply.

Exploration and deposit appraisal percentage of expenditures, by mineral commodity group, 2010 and 2019 (p)

Exploration and deposit appraisal
Text version

This set of two circular charts shows exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures by mineral commodity group for 2010 and 2019. In 2010, precious metals accounted for 52% of spending, base metals 20% and uranium 7%. In 2019, precious metals accounted for 57% of the spending, base metals 19% and uranium 8%. Refer to the table Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures, by mineral commodity group, 2010–2019 (p) for specific values by commodity group for individual years.

Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures, by mineral commodity group, 2010–2019 (p)
($ millions)
Commodity Group 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 (p)
Precious metals 1,443.90 2,277.30 1,842.70 1,103.60 849.4 857.5 952.6 1,430.50 1,522.80 1,187.80
Base metals 551.9 734.1 633.0 419.3 420.0 382.0 236.7 322.2 376.6 400.2
Iron ore 110.1 307.0 358.6 130.7 69.1 28.1 22.5 9.1 18.4 20.8
Uranium 190.4 197.6 205.1 167.4 184.4 170.2 163.9 137.4 169.7 162.7
Diamonds 106.8 91.9 74.6 72.9 109.9 119.3 77.7 83.2 108.8 111.8
Other metals 141.8 260.8 230.9 191.9 125.3 68.7 48.0 89.0 140.7 69.7
Non-metals 168.8 214.2 313.6 116.5 136.0 124.8 81.2 58.4 78.6 58.9
Coal 58.1 144.5 216.6 149.8 123.4 91.8 46.2 55.7 69.5 75.3
Total 2,771.80 4,227.40 3,875.10 2,352.10 2,017.50 1,842.40 1,628.80 2,185.50 2,485.20 2,087.30

Mineral exploration by province and territory

In 2019, Ontario was the leading jurisdiction in terms of spending on mineral exploration, followed by Quebec and British Columbia. These three jurisdictions accounted for 61.3% of total exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures.

Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures, by province and territory, 2018–2020 (si)

Canada's mineral production
Text version

The bar graphs superimposed on this map of Canada show the amount of exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures for each province and territory for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020. Each bar is subdivided into two segments: one for exploration and one for deposit appraisal. The top spending jurisdictions in 2019 were Ontario ($496.7 million), Quebec ($432.4 million) and British Columbia ($351.6 million).

Mineral exploration by company type

Two types of companies work in mineral exploration:

  • Senior companies normally derive recurring operating revenues from mining or other business segments. These are not necessarily mining companies.
  • Junior companies have no internally generated revenue (i.e., they do not have an operating mine) and rely mostly on equity markets to raise the capital necessary to conduct their exploration programs.

Junior mining companies tend to specialize in early-stage exploration activities, while senior companies are more likely to bring mines into production.

Junior companies play a critical role in the discovery and advancement of mineral projects in Canada, projects that represent the next generation of Canadian mines. In 2019, junior mining companies spent $867 million on exploration and deposit appraisal activities, a 23% decrease over 2018. Senior company expenditures also declined 10% from 2018.

Exploration and deposit appraisal share of expenditures, by junior and senior companies, 2009–2020 (si)

Exploration and deposit appraisal share of expenditures, by junior and senior companies, 2008–2019
Text version

This bar graph shows the percentage distribution of exploration and deposit appraisal spending between junior and senior companies from 2010 to 2020 (spending intentions). Junior companies accounted for 56% of the expenditures in 2010 but only 42% in 2019. Refer to the table Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures, by junior and senior companies, 2010–2020 (si) for specific values by junior and senior companies for individual years.

Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures, by junior and senior companies, 2010–2020 (si)
($ millions)
Company Type 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 (p) 2020 (si)
Senior companies 1,225 2,178 2,028 1,388 1,203 1,267 996 1,109 1,364 1,221 1,255
Junior 1,547 2,049 1,847 964 814 576 633 1,076 1,121 867 878
Total 2,772 4,227 3,875 2,352 2,017 1,842 1,629 2,186 2,485 2,087 2,133

Learn more about Canadian mineral exploration.

Canadian mining assets

Canadian exploration and mining companies are active across the globe. The extent of their presence can be determined by examining the value and location of Canadian mining assets.

In 2018, the total value of Canadian mining assets increased by 4.0% from last year, with the portion located outside of Canada increasing by 3.6%.

Key facts

  • Canadian mining assets totalled $271.6 billion in 2018.
  • Canadian mining assets abroad totalled $174.4 billion in 2018.
  • In 2018, assets located abroad accounted for 64% of total assets.

Canada's presence abroad

In 2018, 72% of the value of Canadian mining assets abroad were in the Americas, where the value of assets increased 6.2% from the previous year. Asia experienced the greatest decline in percentage terms (-10.2%) in 2018. The overall value of Canada’s 2018 mining assets in Europe and Africa increased by 0.3% and 3.2%, respectively, while values in Oceania declined 0.9%.

In total, $174.4 billion in assets was located in 100 foreign countries in 2018. The top 10 countries are presented in the following table.

Share of Canadian mining assets abroad, by country, 2018
Ranking Country Percentage
1 United States 14%
2 Mexico 2%
3 Chile 11%
4 Panama 9%
5 Argentina 7%
6 Brazil 6%
7 Peru 5%
8 Zambia 5%
9 Dominican Republic 5%
10 China 2%
- Other 24%

Canadian mining assets, 2018 (p)

Canadian mining assets, 2020
Text version

This map of the world shows countries colour coded according to a range of values for Canadian mining assets (e.g., countries in light green have Canadian mining assets in the range of $100 million to $1 billion). The asset values are listed for each continent and individually for Canada, the United States and Mexico. Refer to the table Canadian mining assets, by global region, 2016–2017 (p) for the specific values for each region.

Canadian mining assets, by global region, 2017–2018 (p)
Region 2017 ($ billions) 2018 (p) ($ billions) Variation ($ billions) Variation (%)
Africa 25.4 26.2 0.8 3.2
Americas (excluding Canada) 117.7 125 7.3 6.2
Asia 10.1 9.1 -1 -10.2
Europe 9.8 9.8 0 0.3
Oceania 4.4 4.3 0 -0.9
Canadian mining assets abroad 167.4 174.4 7.1 4.2
Canada 93.8 97.2 3.4 3.6
Total Canadian mining assets 261.2 271.6 10.5 4.0

Learn more about the global presence of Canadian mining companies.

Indigenous participation

The Natural Resources Canada's Lands and Minerals Sector is committed to promoting Indigenous participation in mineral exploration and mining activities by sharing information to support informed decision-making that builds partnerships and promotes community capacity building.

Indigenous representation in the minerals sector has increased in the last decade, especially in the mining industry.

Key facts

  • More than 16,500 Indigenous people are employed in the minerals and metals sector.
  • Indigenous people account for 12% of the upstream mining industry's labour force, making it the second-largest private sector employer on a participation basis.
  • Since 2010, approximately 300 agreements between exploration and mining companies and Indigenous communities and governments have been signed.

Learn more about our tools and information products on Indigenous participation in exploration and mining.

Indigenous employment

In 2016, over 16,500 Indigenous people were employed in Canada's mining and mineral processing industries. Over half of the Indigenous employment was in the upstream mining subsector, where Indigenous people accounted for 12% of the industry's labour force, more than double the all-industry average representation of 4% and up from 8% in 2011.

Agreements between companies and Indigenous peoples

Agreements between mineral exploration and mining companies and Indigenous communities or governments have helped secure benefits for many Indigenous communities and businesses and improved certainty for exploration and mining companies. Fostering the relationship between industry and Indigenous businesses builds the capacity for Indigenous businesses to capitalize on economic opportunities happening in or near their communities, while allowing industry to create reliable, local supply chains and the social licence to operate in a community.

More than 525 agreements (active and expired agreements at the exploration, development and post-development stages), for 356 exploration and mining projects, have been signed since 1974. Approximately 430 of these agreements were still active in 2019. More than half of the active agreements are in Ontario (141) and British Columbia (91). The number of exploration-stage agreements signed doubled between 2006 and 2019. Furthermore, there has been an overall increase in agreements for exploration, development and post-development stages, with:

  • 51 prior to 2000
  • 493 between 2000 and 2019

The increase is due to both a higher level of exploration and mining activity and a growing focus on building mutual understanding between Indigenous communities and the mining industry. However, for the past few years, there has been a steady decline in agreements for exploration, development and post-development stages with the reduced number of projects.

Number of agreements signed by exploration and mining companies and Indigenous communities or governments, 2000–2019

Number of agreements signed by exploration and mining companies and Indigenous communities or governments, 2000–2019
Text version

This bar graph shows the number of agreements signed each year from 2000 to 2019 for exploration-stage and post-exploration-stage mining projects. It shows an increase in the number of agreements from 2000 to 2012. The rate of agreements signed subsequently declined until 2018. In 2019, the number of agreements increased to 21, including 8 at the exploration stage and 13 at the post exploration stage.

Distribution of active agreements signed by exploration and mining companies and Indigenous communities or governments, by province and territory, 2019

Distribution of active agreements signed by exploration and mining companies and Indigenous communities or governments, by province and territory, 2019
Text version

This map of Canada shows the percentage of all active agreements between exploration and mining companies and Indigenous communities or governments in each province and territory in 2019.

Active agreements signed by exploration and mining companies and Indigenous communities or governments, by province and territory, 2019
Province Agreements %
Ontario 141 32.7%
British Columbia 91 21.1%
Northwest Territories 40 9.3%
Saskatchewan 34 7.9%
Quebec 30 7.0%
Nunavut 27 6.3%
Yukon 25 5.8%
Newfoundland & Labrador 18 4.2%
Manitoba 11 2.6%
Alberta 6 1.4%
New Brunswick 4 0.9%
Nova Scotia 4 0.9%
Total 431 100.0%

Nominal GDP in the minerals sector

In 2019, the direct contribution of Canada's minerals and metals sector to Canada's gross domestic product (GDP) was $71 billion, which represented 3.3% of Canada's total GDP. The indirect impacts from the minerals and metals sector added a further $38 billion to GDP, for a total impact of $109 billion.

Minerals sector nominal gross domestic product, by subsector and product group, 2019

Text version

This circular chart shows the dollar value of direct gross domestic product by subsector of the minerals sector for 2019. Stacked bars show a further breakdown by product group. Mining accounts for 43% of the values, followed by downstream manufacturing with 36% and primary processing with 21%.

Employment in Canada's minerals sector

The minerals sector offers well-paid, high-quality jobs for Canadians across the country, including many in northern and remote locations.

In 2019, the minerals and metals sector directly employed 392,000 individuals and indirectly employed an additional 327,000, for a total of 719,000 individuals.

At $126,000, the average annual total compensation per job in the mining industry is twice the all-industry average of $63,000.

Minerals sector direct employment, by subsector and product group, 2019

Minerals sector direct employment, by subsector and product group, 2018
Text version

This circular chart shows the number of direct jobs in the subsectors of the minerals sector. Stacked bars show a further breakdown by product group for 2019. Refer to the table Minerals sector employment, by subsector and product group, 2010–2019 for the specific values for each subsector and product.

 

Learn more about the employment in the minerals sector.

 

Employment by subsector, by product group and by year
Minerals sector employment, by subsector and product group, 2010–2019
(000 jobs)
Subsector/Commodity group 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 20019 (p)
Metallic minerals 28 30 30 37 35 32 32 36 37 37
Non-metallic minerals 19 19 18 21 21 22 25 25 26 26
Coal 7 7 7 9 7 6 7 6 7 7
Total Extraction 54 56 55 67 64 60 64 68 70 70
Services 30 38 41 37 31 29 28 30 31 31
Primary metallic minerals products 52 55 51 50 47 44 43 42 42 41
Primary non-metallic minerals products 45 45 46 46 46 49 46 46 41 41
Total Primary manufacturing 97 100 97 97 93 93 88 88 83 83
Secondary metal products 25 27 25 26 26 26 22 24 24 24
Tertiary metal products 112 119 124 127 131 129 121 122 124 127
Miscellaneous metal products 31 35 34 36 34 39 37 35 34 34
Services and custom work 25 25 24 21 23 23 22 23 23 24
Total downstream manufacturing 193 205 207 210 215 217 202 204 205 209
Total minerals sector 372 399 400 412 403 399 382 390 388 392
Employment by industry and by year
Minerals sector employment, by industry, 2010–2019 (p)
(000 jobs)
Industry 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 (p)
Mining and quarrying (except oil and gas) 54 56 56 70 69 63 68 70 79 77
Mining-related support activities 22 30 33 29 23 21 21 22 19 22
Non-metallic mineral product manufacturing 52 52 53 53 51 54 52 52 53 55
Primary metal manufacturing 68 74 65 65 64 64 62 63 64 63
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 153 160 162 164 168 162 161 160 169 174
Total minerals sector 348 371 368 381 373 364 364 367 385 391
Compensation per job, by industry and by year
Minerals sector average annual total compensation per job, by industry, 2010–2019 (p)
(dollars)
Industry 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 (p)
Mining and quarrying (except oil and gas) 104,930 110,548 117,767 114,200 119,507 122,453 121,056 121,465 118,874 125,684
Mining-related support activities 99,465 101,941 105,264 106,377 109,494 109,758 104,445 107,310 120,670 108,369
Non-metallic mineral product manufacturing 65,169 65,734 67,327 69,296 72,064 74,042 74,140 76,474 78,489 78,243
Primary metal manufacturing 92,618 93,652 100,038 102,503 102,579 103,465 103,236 107,470 107,439 111,352
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 62,957 64,553 68,481 69,283 71,910 73,402 71,317 71,416 71,898 74,997
Canadian all-industry average 51,311 53,119 54,842 56,277 58,054 59,195 58,581 59,810 61,703 63,153

Learn more about the employment in the minerals sector.

Financing

The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) are the world's primary listing venues for mining and mineral exploration companies, with more than 1,100 issuers in 2019, accounting for nearly 50% of global listings.

In 2019, over half ($12.5 billion) of the world's total equity capital for these activities was raised by companies listed on the TSX or TSXV, which also accounted for 48% of the number of mining equity financings for mineral exploration and mining globally. Canada is number one globally in equity financing raised for mining and mineral exploration.

TSX Accounting
Text version

This graphic shows the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) as the world's primary listing venues for mining and mineral exploration companies. It also shows these exchanges as accounting for 48% of public exploration and mining companies, globally, and 48% of the financings, which raised 56% of the capital in 2019.

Government revenues

From 2014 to 2018, the mining and select manufacturing sectors (mining and quarrying, primary metal manufacturing and non-metallic mineral product manufacturing) paid an average of $2.4 billion in corporate income taxes and royalties annually. Mining taxes and royalties account for 65% of the value, while the remainder is paid in the form of corporate income taxes to the federal, provincial and territorial governments.

Text version

This graphic illustrates the fact that Canadian governments receive taxes and royalties from the mining and select manufacturing sectors.

Read more on taxes relevant to the minerals and metals industries.

Trade

In 2019, Canada's mineral imports and exports, which include ores, concentrates, and semi- and final-fabricated mineral products, recorded a balance of trade of over $20.9 billion.

Canadian mineral trade, by trading partner, 2019
($ billions)
Trading partner Domestic exports
(excluding re-exports)
Total
exports
Total
imports
Balance
of trade
United States 52.7 55.4 41.5 13.9
United Kingdom 15.2 15.3 0.8 14.5
China 5.9 5.9 10.4 -4.5
Japan 4.1 4.1 1.9 2.3
South Korea 3.2 3.3 1.3 1.9
India 3.0 3.0 1.4 1.6
Hong Kong 2.4 2.4 0.1 2.3
Germany 2.1 2.3 2.1 0.2
Norway 1.9 1.9 0.2 1.7
Netherlands 1.8 1.9 0.4 1.5
Other countries 13.8 14.3 28.9 -14.5
Total for Canada 106.1 109.8 88.9 20.9

Exports

Valued at $106.1 billion in 2019, domestic mineral exports accounted for 19% of Canada's total merchandise exports.

Text version

This graphic shows domestic mineral exports as accounting for 19% of total exports. It also shows Canada's main mineral export destinations: United States, 50% ($53 billion); United Kingdom, 14% ($15 billion), and China, 6% ($6 billion).

Canadian domestic mineral exports, by commodity, 2010–2019
($ billions)
Commodity 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 (p)
Gold 15.1 18.3 16.9 17.7 17.9 17.6 18.4 18.6 17.3 22.3
Iron and steel 11.9 12.6 12.8 12.1 13.7 13.6 12.9 14.9 16.4 14.5
Aluminum 9.2 9.9 8.6 8.7 9.8 10.5 10.7 12.7 13.0 11.0
Coal 6.2 8.3 6.6 5.8 4.5 3.8 4.7 7.1 7.9 7.5
Copper 5.2 6.4 5.9 6.1 7.0 6.9 6.2 7.2 7.6 7.0
Potash and potassium compounds 5.2 6.7 6.1 5.8 5.2 6.9 4.7 5.1 6.4 6.6
Iron ore 3.2 4.2 4.2 4.6 4.4 3.6 3.8 4.6 5.3 6.6
Nickel 5.0 6.7 5.2 4.7 5.4 5.4 4.2 3.8 4.2 4.1
Zinc 1.7 1.7 1.5 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 2.1 2.6 2.3
Diamonds 2.6 2.6 2.2 2.1 2.6 2.4 2.0 2.6 2.9 2.2
All other minerals 14.9 18.6 18.1 17.6 17.4 19.7 19.4 18.7 20.9 22.1
Total 80.2 95.9 88.1 86.9 89.6 92.0 88.7 97.4 104.5 106.1

Learn more about Canada's mineral imports and exports.

Minerals sector investment

In 2019, the minerals sector invested $14 billion in new capital construction and in machinery and equipment, accounting for 5% of the Canadian total.

Minerals sector investment
Text version

This graphic shows the minerals sector as accounting for 5% of non-residential capital investment in Canada, with investments of $14 billion in new capital construction (mining and related support activities, $10 billion; mineral processing, $4 billion).

Minerals sector capital expenditures, by industry, 2010–2020 (si)
($ billions)
Industry 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 (p) 2020 (si)
Mining and quarrying (except oil and gas) 9.1 12.2 16.9 15.1 11.1 10.2 9.6 9.0 10.0 10.2 8.6
Mining-related support activities 0.3 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.4 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.3
Non-metallic mineral product manufacturing 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 1.0 1.1 1.2 0.9 0.6 0.7 0.5
Primary metal manufacturing 1.8 2.9 3.9 3.5 3.3 3.2 2.3 1.5 1.8 2.2 2.0
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 0.6 0.7 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.9 0.9 1.1 0.9
Total 12.5 17.1 22.5 20.2 16.5 15.7 14.1 12.6 13.6 14.4 12.2

Learn more about capital investment by Canada's minerals sector.

Major natural resource projects

In 2020, current and potential investment in major mining-related projects (e.g., mine constructions, redevelopments, expansions and processing facilities) over the next 10 years was estimated at $82 billion in capital expenditures, across 120 projects, compared with $80 billion and 114 projects in 2019.

Learn more about major natural resource projects that are planned and under construction over the next 10 years.

Notes and sources

(p) preliminary

(si) spending intentions

(r) revised

Totals may be different because of rounding.

Mineral production

  • Canada's mineral production, global ranking
    • Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada; U.S. Geological Survey;
      World Nuclear Association; Kimberley Process Rough Diamond Statistics
  • Mineral production, by commodity group, 2010–2019 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada
  • Mineral production, by commodity group, 2010–2019 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada
  • Mineral production, by commodity group, 2010–2019 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada
    • Potash: excludes shipments to potassium sulphate plants
    • Sand and gravel: excludes shipments of sand, gravel and stone to Canadian lime and clay plants
    • The value for uranium is calculated using spot market prices
  • Mineral production, by province and territory, 2018 and 2019 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada
  • Mineral production, by province and territory, 2010–2019 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada

Mineral exploration

  • Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures and metals and minerals price index, 1998–2020 (si)
    • Natural Resources Canada, based on the annual Survey of Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures
    • Annual Bank of Canada commodity price index, Metals and Minerals
  • Exploration and deposit appraisal percentage of expenditures, by mineral commodity group, 2010 and 2019 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada, based on the annual Survey of Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures
    • "Precious metals" include gold, silver and platinum group metals (iridium, osmium, palladium, platinum, rhodium and ruthenium). "Base metals" refers to non-ferrous metals such as copper, lead, nickel and zinc. "Other metals" refers to all other metals not captured under the precious metals, base metals, uranium and iron ore categories
  • Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures, by mineral commodity group, 2010–2020 (si)
    • Natural Resources Canada, based on the annual Survey of Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures
    • "Precious metals" include gold, silver and platinum group metals (iridium, osmium, palladium, platinum, rhodium and ruthenium). "Base metals" refers to non-ferrous metals such as copper, lead, nickel and zinc. "Other metals" refers to all other metals not captured under the precious metals, base metals, uranium and iron ore categories
  • Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures, by province and territory, 2018–2020 (si)
    • Natural Resources Canada, based on the annual Survey of Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures
    • Exploration and deposit appraisal activities include all activities carried out to search for, discover, characterize and define in detail a mineral deposit for the pre-feasibility and final feasibility studies that will support a production decision and the investment required. Expenditures include on-mine-site and off-mine-site activities, field work, overhead costs, engineering, economic and pre-production or production feasibility studies, and environment and land access costs.
  • Exploration and deposit appraisal share of expenditures, by junior and senior companies, 2010–2020 (si)
    • Natural Resources Canada, based on the annual Survey of Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures
  • Exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures, by junior and senior companies, 2010–2020 (si)
    • Natural Resources Canada, based on the annual Survey of Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures

Canadian mining assets

  • Share of Canadian mining assets abroad, by country, 2018 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada
  • Canadian mining assets, 2018 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada
  • Canadian mining assets, by global region, 2017–2018 (p)
    • Natural Resources Canada
    • Canadian mining asset values are those reported in company financial reports, nearest to December 31, 2018, for public companies headquartered in Canada that are not under foreign control. Mining assets, in this context, reflect non-current assets, including mineral properties, deferred mineral exploration expenses, royalties, investments in non-Canadian mining companies, and other non-current assets related to mining that can be reconciled to a specific geographic location. Canadian mining assets include values for all countries including Canada, while Canadian mining assets abroad include values for all countries except Canada

Indigenous participation

  • Number of agreements signed by exploration and mining companies and Indigenous communities or governments, 2000–2019
    • Natural Resources Canada
  • Distribution of active agreements signed by exploration and mining companies and Indigenous communities or governments, by province and territory, 2019
    • Natural Resources Canada
  • The Indigenous representation and employment numbers presented in this section are from Statistics Canada's 2016 Census

Nominal GDP in the minerals sector

  • Minerals sector nominal gross domestic product, by subsector and product group, 2019
    • Statistics Canada, Natural Resources Satellite Account, Table 38-10-0285-01

Employment in Canada's minerals sector

  • Minerals sector direct employment, by subsector and product group, 2019
    • Statistics Canada, Natural Resources Satellite Account, annual average, Table 38-10-0285-01
  • Indirect jobs
    • Estimated by Statistics Canada

Financing

  • Key facts
    • TMX group

Government revenues

  • Key facts
    • Statistics Canada; Natural Resources Canada, based on provincial/territorial public accounts

Trade

  • Canadian mineral trade, by trading partner, 2019
    • Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada
  • Exports key facts
    • Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada
  • Canadian domestic mineral exports, by commodity, 2010–2019
    • Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada
  • Mineral trade includes ores, concentrates, and semi- and final-fabricated mineral products

Minerals sector investment

  • Key facts
    • Natural Resources Canada calculations, based on Statistics Canada data
  • Minerals sector capital expenditures, by industry, 2010–2020 (si)
    • Natural Resources Canada; Statistics Canada, Table 34-10-0035-01

Minerals and metals sector

The minerals and metals sector (or minerals sector) refers to the following North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industries:

  • Mining:
    • NAICS 212—mining and quarrying (except oil and gas)
  • Mining-related support activities:
    • NAICS 213117—contract drilling (except oil and gas)
    • NAICS 213119—other support activities for mining, including mineral exploration
  • Mineral processing:
    • NAICS 327—nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing
    • NAICS 331—primary metal manufacturing
    • NAICS 332—fabricated metal product manufacturing

The mining-related support activities subsector includes exploration and drilling companies, and service companies operating on a fee or contract basis. It does not include all mining industry suppliers as some entities service multiple sectors (e.g., transportation, construction, finance and legal).

Gross domestic product and employment values are based on the Statistics Canada Natural Resources Satellite Account (NRSA), which estimates the contribution of resource-related activities to the Canadian economy. The NRSA defines natural resource activities as products and services originating from naturally occurring assets, such as minerals, used in economic activity. In this way, the NRSA goes beyond an industry perspective of natural resources and seeks to identify natural resource activities and products within the Canadian economy. For the NRSA-based indicators, the minerals and metals sector includes activities involved in:

  • Extracting and initial processing of mineral products (also referred to as primary production):
    • Extraction of coal, metallic (e.g., copper, gold, lead, nickel, silver and zinc) and nonmetallic (e.g., diamonds, potash, salt and stone) minerals
    • Services for mining and quarrying, and exploration
    • Primary metallic mineral products (e.g., aluminum and aluminum-alloy ingots and billets, iron and steel basic shapes and ferro-alloy products, and refined precious and base metals)
    • Primary nonmetallic mineral products (e.g., clay products, glass and glass products, and cement)
  • Downstream processing and manufacturing of metal products, which use a large portion of metal products as inputs:
    • Secondary metal products (e.g., iron and steel pipes and foundry products)
    • Tertiary metal products (e.g., cutlery and forged and stamped products)
    • Miscellaneous metal products (e.g., communication and energy wire and cable, and motor vehicle metal stamping)
    • Services and custom work (e.g., coating, engraving and heat treating)

For more information on the NRSA, consult Statistics Canada, The Natural Resources Satellite Account: Feasibility Study

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: