Demand for Canadian natural resources on a “scale never seen before,” says MAC

The Canadian Malartic, Canada’s largest gold mine. Credit: Agnico.

The current state of mining and the Canadian economy is strong, according to the Mining Association of Canada’s (MAC) The Mining Story – Canadian Mining Industry Facts and Figures, a report based on the latest statistics and analysis.

The mining industry is a major sector of Canada’s economy, contributing C$161 billion to the national GDP and is responsible for 21% of Canada’s total domestic exports. Canada’s mining sector employs 694,000 people directly and indirectly across the country. The industry is proportionally the largest private sector employer of Indigenous peoples in Canada and a major customer of Indigenous-owned businesses, MAC reported.

According to the report, the total value of mineral and metal production has quadrupled since 2000. Canada is among the top producers of metals and non-metallic minerals in the world. It is the top producer of potash, second largest producer of niobium and uranium, and third largest producer of precious diamonds and palladium (by metal content).

In 2022, mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction represented 7.8% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). The sector made up a larger portion of Canada’s economy than finance, construction, transportation or retail trade, MAC said.

Extraction, mining services, primary metal/mineral manufacturing and downstream metal/mineral manufacturing all saw substantial increases in contribution to Canada’s GDP in 2022, according to the report.

Extraction contributed C$45 billion to GDP, an increase of 21% from 2021. Mining services contributed C$10.1 billion to GDP, an increase of 50% from 2021 while primary metal/mineral manufacturing contributed C$23 billion to GDP, an increase of 13% from 2021.

Downstream metal/mineral manufacturing contributed C$30.4 billion to GDP, an increase of 23% from 2021. Canada produces more than 60 minerals and metals through its mining activities.

“The rebound in mineral and metal production is great to see, after a lengthy period of lower commodity prices,” MAC CEO Pierre Gratton said in a news release.

“As Canada and its allies seek to secure critical minerals and other mining products for the future to address national security and climate change goals, these numbers also tell us about how much wealth can come to Canada if we build out our mineral endowment,” Gratton said.

The total value of Canadian mineral production in 2022 was C$74.6 billion, up from C$58.6 billion in 2021. This growth was led by the increase in production values for nonmetals and coal.

“To provide the resources that are required to accomplish our transition to a low-carbon economy, Canada must create an investment and regulatory environment that works,” the report reads. “Over the past few years, the mining sector has heard positive commitments from the federal government, including the Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy, Fall Economic Statements, and the 2022, 2023, and 2024 Budgets.”

 These measures, and the enhanced collaboration with allies in the European Union and US, are encouraging – but the true measure of success lies in the effective and efficient implementation of policies that will speed the delivery of Canadian minerals and metals to the global markets that are clamoring for them, MAC emphasized.

“The mining industry is an engine of Canada’s economy, but current demand for our natural resources presents us with opportunities on a scale we’ve never seen before – efficient and effective collaboration between government, industry, and all communities of interest will ensure that our industry continues to benefit all Canadians,” said Gratton.

The report proposes several recommendations that will enhance the Canadian mining sector’s competitiveness, including investments in mineral processing, exploration, infrastructure and workforce.

Read the full report here.

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