Mining in Canada: 30 Facts & Statistics

Mining in Canada facts and statistics

Updated August 2023

Canada, with its diverse geology across 9.985 million square kilometres (km2) of land, is home to an abundance of minerals and metals which underpin a world-class mining industry that supports hundreds of thousands of Canadian families.

Accounting for 665,000 direct and indirect jobs, Canada’s mining industry contributed $125 billion, or five per cent of our nation’s total gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021. Apart from creating prosperity for communities across the country, the mining sector is crucial for rural Canadians and Indigenous Peoples who often depend primarily on economic activity spurred by natural resources.

With growing global demand for the minerals and metals found within our borders, it only makes sense that responsible mining producers like Canada are the go-to suppliers of choice. The Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Initiative, launched by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) in 2004, is a world-recognized sustainability standard that is not only practiced here at home, but is now being adopted by nations across the globe.

Here is even more juicy mining in Canada that should give you more insight into how essential minerals and metals are to Canadians across our nation. Also see:

Canadian Mining: General Facts

Canada produced more than 60 minerals and metals in 2021

#1 - In 2021, Canada was among the top five global producers of 14 mined substances [1]

#2 - Canada produces more than 60 metals and minerals at 200 mines and 6,500 sand and gravel pits and stone quarries from coast-to-coast [5]

#3 - Canada is a leading global producer of many critical minerals including those used in advanced battery technologies, such as cobalt, nickel and graphite [4]

#4 - In 2020, publicly-traded Canadian-based mining and exploration companies had $273 billion in assets, with about two-thirds ($188 billion) located abroad in 97 different countries [5]

#5 - Annually, Canada’s mining sector accounts for roughly 50% of total rail freight revenue generated in the country and is the single largest shipping sector by volume by rail and marine transportation [3]

Canadian Mining & the Economy

Canada's net mineral trade balance was 23.7 billion in 2021

#6 - In 2021, the minerals sector supported a total of 665,000 direct and indirect jobs across Canada: [5]

  • 263,000 indirect jobs
  • 403,000 direct jobs

#7 - Of Canada’s direct mining jobs, 106,000 were in mining and related support activities, with another 297,000 in mineral processing [5]

#8 - The mining sector contributed $125 billion to Canada’s economy in 2021 – or 5% of total national gross domestic product (GDP) [1]

  • $91 billion direct
  • $33 billion indirect

#9 - In 2021, Canada produced minerals and metals worth $56 billion: [5]

  • Metals - $36 billion
  • Non-metals - $12 billion
  • Coal - $8 billion

#10 - Exports of Canadian mineral and metal products reached $126.6 billion in 2021, accounting for 22% of Canada’s total merchandise exports [4]

  • Gold - $21.3 billion
  • Iron and steel - $20 billion
  • Aluminum - $15.2 billion
  • Iron ore - $10.1 billion
  • Copper - $9.9 billion
  • Coal - $8 billion
  • Potash and potassium compounds - $7.1 billion
  • Platinum group metals - $3.7 billion
  • Zinc - $2.3 billion
  • All other minerals - $24.3 billion

mineral exports accounted for 22 per cent of Canada's total economy GDP in 2021

#11 - The United States accounted for 54% of all Canadian mineral exports in 2021, with the United Kingdom (10%) and China (7%) also accounting for their own fare share [5]

#12 - In 2020, mining and related support activities paid $2.9 billion in corporate income taxes and royalties to Canadian governments [4]

#13 - In 2021, $2.1 billion was invested in mineral exploration in Canada. Precious metals such as gold were the most searched-for commodities, accounting for 65% of this spending [4]

#14 - In 2021, $3.6 billion was spent by Canadian mineral and exploration companies abroad

#15 - In 2021, Canada’s minerals sector invested $14.4 billion in new capital construction and in machinery and equipment, accounting for 5% of the national total [4]

#16 - Canada’s mining sector has investments in over 100 countries worldwide, where thousands of Canadian mining supply and service companies participate [3]

#17 - The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange are the world’s number one mining and exploration listing venues, where 34%, or $7.5 billion, of global mining equity capital was raised in 2020 [3]

#18 - While 2020 saw a slight increase in the value of mining projects planned or under construction from 2020 to 2030 ($2 billion year-over-year), the total 10-year projected value ($82 billion) remains nearly 50% lower below the 2014 level of $160 billion [3]

Canadian Mining & Indigenous Peoples

Canada's average annual mining job salary was 134,225 thousand, much higher than the all-industry average of 69,311

#19 - Canadian mining is proportionally the largest private-sector employer of Indigenous Peoples nationwide [1]

#20 - The mining sector is the largest heavy industrial employer of Indigenous peoples in Canada with 16,500 jobs for community members [1]

#21 - Indigenous people accounted for 12% of the mining sector’s labour force in 2016, up from 8% in 2011 – the highest representation of Indigenous employment of any industry in Canada [4]

#22 - More than 524 agreements for exploration and mining projects have been signed between companies and Indigenous communities or governments in Canada between 2000 and 2021 [5]

#23 - More than 586 agreements for 385 mining and exploration projects have been signed between companies and Indigenous communities or governments in Canada since 1974 [4]

#24 - Approximately 465 of these agreements were still active in 2021 [4]

#25 - More than half of these active agreements are found in Ontario (157) and British Columbia (99) [4]

  • Ontario – 157
  • British Columbia – 99
  • Northwest Territories – 42
  • Saskatchewan – 36
  • Quebec – 34
  • Nunavut – 27
  • Yukon – 25
  • Newfoundland & Labrador – 19
  • Manitoba – 12
  • Alberta – 6
  • New Brunswick – 4
  • Nova Scotia – 4

#26 - There has been a rapid increase in agreements between companies and First Nations for exploration, development and post-development stages in Canada as of late: [4]

  • 51 prior to 2000
  • 524 between 2000 and 2021

Canadian Mining & Sustainability

Canada's mineral sector accounted for five per cent of Canada's economy in 2021

#27 - Canadian mining companies are recognized as world leaders in sustainability and safety under the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining initiative introduced in 2004 [3]

#28 - Five other global nations – Argentina, Botswana, Finland, Spain, and the Philippines – have since adopted sustainability standards outlined in Canada’s TSM framework, with more mulling the idea [6]

#29 - 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, aims to improve the minerals sector's environmental performance and create green technology opportunities [7]

#30 – Canada’s mining sector is well-positioned to contribute significantly to a low-carbon economy as the provider of raw materials necessary for innovation in other industries [3]

Learn More:

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Back to Mining in Canada


1. Mining of Canada. (n.d.). Mining Facts. Retrieved from Date Accessed: August 2023.

2. Mining of Canada. (n.d.). Economic Impacts and Drivers for the Global Energy Transition Report Highlights State of Canada's Mining Industry. Retrieved from Date Accessed: August 2023.

3. Mining of Canada. (n.d.). MAC-Facts and Figures. Retrieved from Accessed: August 2023.

4. Natural Resources of Canada. (n.d.). Mining Data, Statistics, and Analysis. Retrieved from Date Accessed: August 2023.

5. Natural Resources of Canada. (n.d.). 10 Key Facts on Canada's Mineral Sector. Retrieved from Date Accessed: August 2023.

6. Mining of Canada. (n.d.) Towards sustainable mining. Retrieved from Date Accessed: August 2023.

7. Natural Resources of Canada. (n.d.). Minerals and the Economy. Retrieved from Date Accessed: August 2023.

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