Mining in Canada
Everything we do is made possible by natural resources. Minerals and metals, for example, make a huge contribution to the lives of everyday Canadians from coast to coast - even those who do not work in the industry. How so, you might ask?
We all depend on mining for countless products ranging from the mundane to the complicated. From toothpaste and bicycles to sophisticated electronics like computers and smartphones, minerals and metals are the building blocks of modern society. These materials provide us with the key components for our shelter, vehicles, transportation, medical instruments and even food production.
Let's also not forget that without minerals and metals, cleantech which is vital to a greener and more sustainable world would be impossible.
Mining is one of Canada’s most important economic sectors and a major job creator. Canada’s rise as one of the wealthiest countries in the world is thanks in part to major discoveries and development in the mining industry over the decades. Also see:
Canada's Mining Industry...
• employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians across our country
• plays an essential role in the transition to a lower-carbon future by providing the building blocks for cleantech and energy efficiency
• adheres to strict, world-leading regulations that protections public health, public safety and the environment
• is the largest private-sector employer of Indigenous Peoples in Canada
• is world-class when it comes to producing minerals and metals in an environmentally responsible manner
The benefits of mining go well beyond mineral extraction and processing. Mining makes other industrial sectors possible such as transportation, construction, manufacturing, environmental management, geological services and education to name a few examples.
The industry also provides a major boost to our financial sector; the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) is the leading global mining exchange, listing more of the world's public mining companies and raising more mining equity capital than any other exchange.
Mining serves as the key to improving socio-economic circumstances and stimulating a diversified local economy that will flourish throughout the life of the mine and well beyond in countless communities across Canada.
In addition to providing jobs and enabling income creation, mining companies invest in infrastructure, education, vocational training, health care, cultural programs and environmental initiatives.
Learn more about Mining in Canadian provinces:
Mining in Canada: Facts
> Mining directly and indirectly employed over 692,000 workers across Canada as of 2020
> Mining added $107 billion to Canada's nominal gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020
> Mineral exports accounted for 21% of Canada's total domestic exports in 2020
> Canada is a top five producer of fourteen mined substances used in a full spectrum of modern day applications
> Canada produces 60 minerals and metals which are key raw materials for goods that we rely on in our daily lives and for advanced technologies that will help sustain our living standards into the future
Source: Mining Association of Canada
Learn more about minerals & metals in Canada:
Mining in Daily Life: Examples
> The nanotechnology boom has opened up a new frontier of early detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Gold nanoparticle technology is being used to target and deliver antibodies directly into cancerous tumours. They are also being engineered to attach to cancer-related proteins to aid in earlier detection.
> Mining makes our favourite devices possible. More than 40 mined metals and rare earths are used to produce a single smartphone.
> Mining keeps your electronics working. The appliances we use everyday, everything from the refrigerator to the washer and dryer, require metals to function. Copper, as just one example, is used in plumbing, industrial machinery and construction materials.
> Made fresh in Canada, agriculture and agri-food contribute over $100 billion annually to Canada’s economy and the industry is responsible for the employment of 2.3 million Canadians. Farm fertilizers are actually a mix of phosphorous, nitrogen, potassium, sulfur and iron – all products of mining.
> Mining is responsible for the most coveted hockey trophy in the world. The Stanley Cup was first awarded to the Montreal Hockey Club in 1893. The original Cup was made of silver, while the current Cup is made of a silver and nickel alloy. Hockey skates are also made out of chromium, carbon and iron
> Mining plays an important role in preventing infectious disease. Increasingly, health facilities are using antimicrobial copper to prevent Hospital Acquired Infections. Surgical instruments, hospital beds and monitors also all exist thanks to mining.
> Mining makes space exploration and satellite technologies purposed for a range of functions possible.
> Mining makes renewable energy generation possible.
Mining Sector & Environmental Leadership
> The Canadian mining industry is committed to responsible environmental stewardship and is focused on being a constructive partner in addressing climate change, reducing footprints and enhancing social and environmentally responsible practices by improving energy efficiencies and reducing GHG emission intensities.
> Canada is well equipped to respond to the growing demand for commodities required in clean energy technologies as we are a producer of copper, nickel, and cobalt, and host to 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.
> Canada's mining industry produces minerals and metals used to build sustainable technologies. Mining is essential to a low-carbon future, as clean energy and “green” products require metals and minerals as their building blocks. In fact, 14 of the 19 metals and minerals used in solar PV panels come from Canadian mines.
> Mining makes wind power generation possible. More than 220 tonnes of coal is required to build a wind turbine. At the same time, the mining industry is focussed on reducing its own carbon footprint by employing alternative energies. For example, in northern Quebec, Glencore’s Raglan Mine is replacing diesel fuel with wind power. The wind turbine and energy storage facility – the first of its kind in Canada – has helped reduce the mine’s GHG emissions and has the potential to transform the Arctic’s energy landscape.
> Even before a mine opens for production, plans are in place for the future reclamation of the land. Every advanced exploration and mining project in Canada includes a closure plan to restore lands to a natural state upon completion of exploration and mining activities. After various stages of production, buildings are razed, trees and natural grasses planted and wildlife habitats restored. This temporary land use is one of mining's unique attributes. Mines are rarely permanent facilities.
> Canada’s mining industry is providing the responsibly-sourced minerals and metals that power the technologies of today and tomorrow. And its own technological advancements are allowing mining companies to eliminate the negative impacts of their activities.
> Canada is an energy powerhouse. Electricity relies on minerals and metals to be realized. For example, copper is essential in both conducting electricity and in the makeup of wind turbines, which can one day help more Canadians use more renewably generated power as a source of supply.
Source: Mining Association of Canada
Learn more about Canadian mining and the environment:
- Canada is Setting the Global Standard for Sustainable Mining
- Canada Has the Minerals & Know-How to Lead on EV Tech
Mining & Indigenous Peoples in Canada
Mining is a major contributor to Canada's economy, especially in northern and remote communities where it is the largest private-sector employer of Indigenous peoples and a major partner with Indigenous businesses.
This can be partly attributed to the fact that roughly 1,200 Indigenous communities are within close proximity to mining operations. This serves as a foundation for relationship building between industry and Indigenous communities. The mining sector:
> employs 16,600 Indigenous workers directly (NRC)
> has over 500 active mining agreements with Indigenous communities (MAC)
The vast majority of Indigenous business procurement comes from the natural resources sector. For example:
> Cameco, a uranium company with operations in northern Saskatchewan and elsewhere, procured over $3 billion in services from northern and Aboriginal suppliers between 2004-16
> Suncor, an energy company with operations in the Alberta oil sands, procured almost $5 billion in goods and services from Indigenous businesses between 1999-2018.
By comparison, the entire federal government has only spent $3.3 billion on Aboriginal businesses since 1996.
Mining in Canada is an integral part of our economy and supports hundreds of thousands of families across our nation. We must ensure we take the necessary steps to cement Canada’s status as a global mining leader and that the industry continues to create prosperity for all Canadians.
Canadian companies are world leaders when it comes to sustainable and environmentally conscious mining practices. We are also world-class when it comes to respecting local workers and building lasting, meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities.
We must continue to support the Canadian mining sector and those who have the means to provide for their families because of employment in this value-adding industry. Let’s be proud of where Canada stands on the global scene and of all the technological advances it puts forward for the benefit of our planet.
We should celebrate our natural resources and our initiatives that help develop the quality of life that we as Canadians are known for. Are you with us?!
Return to Canada Action
Did you know that Ontario is a hotbed for mining activity in Canada? The industry is active in all parts of the province in a diverse set of communities including Sudbury, Windsor, Midland, Timmins, Perth, Marathon, North Bay and Attawapiskat to name a few. The further north y...
Did you know that Canada is the second largest global producer and exporter of uranium?! Canada is also home to the 4th largest reserves with most of our production coming the McArthur River and Cigar Lake mines in Northern Saskatchewan, two of the largest and highest-grade m...
So, what does the oil sands in Canada look like? You'd be surprised, especially considering this vast oil reserve is often incorrectly referred to as the "tar sands," and the photos we usually see in media nowadays are those of open mines. But just a small percent of the oil s...