We depend upon mining for many products. Mined materials are used in our homes, vehicles, medical instruments, computers, smartphones, batteries and food storage. They’re utilized in the production of cement/asphalt, cleaning/hygiene merchandise, agricultural products, some paper goods and household appliances. Materials extracted from the earth affect the quality of our daily lives. Mining these substances is an integral part of Canada’s economy. The minerals and metals produced by Canada’s mining industry are used as raw materials for numerous goods that we utilize every day. What is mined in Canada? What do Canada’s mines provide for the world?
Materials mined in Canada:
- Minerals: Minerals are solid, naturally occurring, inorganic substances found in the Earth’s crust. These compounds are composed of various elements. In 2021, Canada’s mineral production reached an all-time high of $55.5 billion. Gold, coal, iron ore, potash and copper are the top five minerals products Canada extracts from the earth. They account for approximately ⅔ of Canada’s total mineral production.
- Metals are crystalline when solid and naturally occur in minerals. They rarely occur in native form except a few metals like gold, silver and copper. Gold remained Canada’s top-ranked commodity by value of production in 2021, accounting for 1/4 of the total value of all minerals and metals.
- Battery minerals include cobalt, graphite, lithium and nickel. They’re the four main minerals/metals used in the production of electric vehicle (EV) batteries and advanced energy storage technologies. In 2021, Canadian mines shipped 4,361 tonnes of cobalt valued at $198 million. 7,700 tonnes of graphite were shipped to market. Nickel is produced in mines located in Newfoundland, Labrador, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba.
- Non-metals: Canada is the largest global producer of potash, accounting for 31% of global production in 2021. Canadian mines shipped 17.5 million carats of diamonds in 2021 while sand and gravel are the third largest non-metal commodity mined in Canada.
- Coal: Canadian mines produced 42 million tonnes of coal in 2021. Canada produces both thermal (electricity generating) and metallurgical coal (for steel making). The government of Canada has announced regulations to phase-out coal coal-fired electricity by 2030.
Canada has a well-developed mining industry that provides a variety of products to the global market.
Mineral production by province and territory
British Columbia is the largest mining producer in Canada by value of production with Quebec a close second. The value of minerals produced in BC during 2021 is estimated at $12.9 billion with Quebec producing $11.9 billion and Ontario $11.1 billion. These provinces account for 65% of Canada’s total mineral production.
Canadian Mining Facts:
- Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are employed in the mining industry. Mining directly and indirectly employed over 692,000 workers across Canada as of 2020
- Mining plays an essential role in a lower-carbon future by providing the building blocks for cleantech and energy efficiency.
- Mining is the largest private-sector employer of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
- 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 modern-day applications.
- Canada produces 60 minerals and metals which are key raw materials for goods used in our daily lives and in advanced technologies.
- The Canadian mining industry is committed to environmental stewardship by becoming a constructive partner in addressing climate change, reducing carbon footprints and enhancing social and environmentally responsible practices. For example, Glencore’s Raglan Mine, located in northern Quebec, is replacing diesel fuel with wind power.
- Every advanced exploration/mining project in Canada includes a closure plan to restore lands to a natural state upon completion of exploration and mining activities.
Mining in Canada is an important economic driver and a major job creator. Canada is a leading global producer of potash and among the top five producers of aluminum, cobalt, diamonds, fluorspar, gemstones, gold, indium, niobium, palladium, platinum, tellurium, titanium and uranium. The products produced by Canada’s mining sector are key materials for everyday goods and advanced technologies that will assist the transition to a low-carbon economy.
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