Canadian Manufacturing

Global interest in Canada’s minerals, metals at record high: report

International exploration investment in Canada hit $3.9-billion in 2011, expected to have risen further


OTTAWA—A new report from the Mining Association of Canada says global interest in Canadian metals and resources reached a record high in 2011.

According to MAC’s Facts and Figures 2012 report, international exploration investment in Canada hit $3.9-billion in 2011 and is expected to have risen further in 2012.

“The growth in exploration spending in Canada over the past decade has been remarkable,” MAC president and CEO Pierre Gratton said in a statement.

“Despite challenges, such as reduced access to capital for some miners, buoyant mineral prices have increased company willingness to invest significantly in the location and development of certain minerals and metals in Canada.”

According to report findings, from 2002 to 2011, exploration spending grew by an astounding 585 per cent.

In 2011 Canada was the top destination globally for exploration spending, boasting 18 per cent of total investment.

That increased spending led to increased yields, according to the report, with Canadian mineral production value up 21 per cent to a record $50.3-billion in 2011 as mineral prices went up.

While well-established mining provinces continued to dominate in mineral production—Ontario ($10.6-billion), Saskatchewan ($9.2-billion), British Columbia ($8.5-billion) and Quebec ($7.7-billion) seized the top four spots—there were notable increases in other regions.

According to MAC, Newfoundland and Labrador’s mineral production value reached $5.1-billion in 2011, which represented an impressive six-fold increase over the last decade.

The industry exported a record $101.9-billion worth of metals, non-metals and coal in 2011, accounting for 22.8 per cent of Canada’s total exports.

That same year, the industry contributed $35.6-billion to the national GDP, and paid over $9-billion in taxes and royalties to Canadian governments.

The industry employed 320,000 workers across the country in 2011, according to MAC.

“As exploration activity and mineral production are intrinsically linked, the Canadian mining industry could see a dramatic expansion in the years to come,” Gratton said. “While some volatility is anticipated, the larger determinant in capitalizing on the opportunities before us is to ensure the industry has access to the right investment and regulatory environments it needs to support development.”

Despite forecasted challenges, the Canadian mining industry’s economic prospects are strong heading into 2013, according to Gratton.

“Regardless of concerns over the growth rates of China and other emerging markets, it is widely held that growth, even if at a moderately reduced pace, is likely to remain strong over the long term,” he said.