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Minerals Policy and Business Development

Manitoba Mineral Sector Profile

Last updated March 4, 2016


The mining and petroleum industries make up the second-largest primary resource industry of Manitoba’s economy.  The 2014 value of mining and petroleum production totalled $3.1 billion, comprising

Related Links

Manitoba Mineral/Petroleum Industry Statistics 2010 to 2015

Natural Resources Canada Minerals and Mining Statistics Division

Manitoba Operating Mines

In 2014, capital expenditures on mining and petroleum development totalled an estimated $1.03 billion, and the industries accounted for approximately 6.5% of provincial GDP and 9% of total exports.  Manitoba’s mining and petroleum industries directly employed approximately 6,000 people in 2014.

In 2014, Manitoba produced:

  • 23.6% of Canada's zinc
  • 7.3% of Canada’s cobalt
  • 12.2% of Canada's nickel
  • 5.8% of Canada's copper
  • 2.5% of Canada's gold
  • 6.0% of Canada's silver
  • 100% of Canada's cesium

Silver, cobalt and platinum group metals are by-products of other mined metals or minerals; values are not available for platinum group metals.

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Dominant activities:

  • Mining, smelting, refining of base & precious metals

  • Mining/quarrying of industrial minerals

  • Crude oil extraction

Structure and concentration:

  • There are approximately 40 companies active in mineral exploration and mining in Manitoba. Two mining companies employ approximately half of the workforce in this sector. Manitoba has 6 producing mines, 1 operating smelter and 2 refineries.

  • There are approximately 11 major producers active in the industrial minerals sector in Manitoba.
  • There are currently 33 companies that produce oil in Manitoba, ranging from large multinationals to small locally based producers. 464 new wells were drilled in 2014 and as of June 16th 2015, Manitoba had 5353 producing oil wells. Crude oil produced in Manitoba is shipped through the Enbridge pipeline system or Canadian National Railway to refiners in eastern Canada and the northeast and north-central areas of the United States.

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Exploration and development highlights: 

Advanced exploration projects:

  • Monument Bay Project (gold): Yamana Gold Inc. acquired all outstanding shares of Mega Precious Metals Inc. in June and is proceeding to advance the Monument Bay project towards feasibility study.  Yamana plans to continue with an aggressive infill and exploration drill program at Twin Lakes.  A significant component of the exploration program is the sampling and analysis of drill core generated by previous project operators.  An important and somewhat unique aspect of the Twin Lakes deposit is the association between gold and tungsten throughout the deposit.  The close association led  Mega to include tungsten in the resource estimate, significantly increasing the value proposition of the project.

  • Lynn Lake project (gold): Alamos Gold Inc. and Carlisle Goldfields Limited announced recently that they have entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to an offer made by Alamos to acquire all issued and outstanding shares of Carlisle. The Lynn Lake project is comprised of five near surface deposits which contain total measured and indicated mineral resources of 40.5 milling tonnes grading 2.11 g/t for 2.75 million ounces of gold and total inferred mineral resources of 51.8 million tonnes grading 1.37 g/t for 2.28 million ounces.  In February 2014, a positive preliminary economic assessment (“PEA”) was completed on the two primary deposits, the MacLellan Mine and the Farley Lake Mines, which detailed average annual production of 145,000 ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of C$644 per ounce over a 12 year mine life. This project will potentially make this project one of Manitoba's largest gold mines.

Mining operations:

  • As Vale transitions its Thompson operations to phase out smelting and refining by 2015, the company projects mining and milling to continue beyond 2027, and is reviewing mine development opportunities, specifically, the Thompson 1-D project which represents a potential investment of more than $1 billion.

  • Reed Mine 70% HudBay Minerals, Inc. / 30% VMS Ventures Inc.:  The Reed mine achieved commercial production in the second quarter of 2014.  The Reed mine development was completed on schedule and under the $71 million budget, with the budget surplus applied to underground development.  The copper-gold mine will produce 1,300 tpd at full production, with the ore being trucked to Flin Flon for processing.  VMS Ventures is conducting a 4,000 metre diamond drill program, testing geophysical anomalies in the vicinity of the Reed mine.  A total of seven targets were selected for evaluation.

  • Lalor Project (zinc-copper-gold) 100% HudBay Minerals, Inc.: Construction of the Lalor mine is complete at a cost of $441 million and commercial production was achieved the end of the third quarter of 2014.  Mine production of 2700 tonnes per day (tpd) is processed at HudBay’s recently upgraded Snow Lake concentrator.  To aid in the treatment of Lalor ore, HudBay purchased the Snow Lake assets of QM Gold Inc. which includes the past-producing New Britannia gold mine and mill complex.  Hudbay is studying the potential of refurbishing the 2000 tpd New Britannia mill to treat gold zone ore from the Lalor mine.  The purchase of the New Britannia mine and mill will preclude the construction of a new concentrator at the Lalor mine. Current production from the 777, Lalor and Reed mines supports HudBay’s Flin Flon metallurgical complex.

  • CaNickel Mining Limited (formerly Crowflight Minerals Inc.) put their Bucko Lake Nickel Project near Wabowden on care and maintenance in July 2012 due to weak nickel prices.  The company continues to undertake exploration programs in the Thompson Nickel Belt.

Sector capabilities:

  • Base and precious metals: copper, nickel, zinc, gold

  • Industrial minerals: cesium, dolomite, gypsum, sodium chlorate, dimension stone, lime, crushed rock, sand and gravel aggregate

  • Crude oil extraction

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Key Players:

HudBay Minerals Inc.


San Gold Corporation

CaNickel Mining Limited

Tantalum Mining Corporation of Canada

Tundra Oil & Gas Partnership

EOG Resources Canada Inc.

Penn West Exploration

Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Gillis Quarries Ltd.

Cold Spring Granite (Canada) Ltd.

ERCO Worldwide

Certain Teed Gypsum Canada Inc

Graymont Western Canada Inc.

Lafarge Canada Inc.

Lehigh Hanson Canada

Corex Resources Limited



Mineral endowment:

  • Metal deposits in Manitoba’s Precambrian Shield have been mined for decades. Ongoing development at Flin Flon will extend operations there until 2021, and at Snow Lake, the Lalor deposit is expected to support mining to 2030 and beyond. These developments will see mining activity in the Flin Flon–Snow Lake region extend over 100 years since the first mines were opened. Similarly, Vale’s development projects are expected to extend mining operations until 2030 and beyond, about 75 years after initial production.

  • Large areas of high mineral potential in remote regions of the province remain under-explored when compared with similar regions elsewhere in Canada. This represents a potential avenue for considerable growth in Manitoba’s mineral sector and may provide significant employment opportunities for northern and Aboriginal communities near new mineral exploration and development projects.

  • Manitoba mineral resources with potential for future economic development include platinum-group elements (platinum, palladium and rhodium), rare earth elements, uranium, titanium, vanadium, chromite, silica, diamonds and potash.

  • Although oil has been produced in Manitoba for over 60 years, the province is still relatively underexplored. Production has been obtained from only a small part of the total sedimentary sequence present in the province.  Horizontal drilling and multi-stage hydraulic fracturing are being used by companies to develop Manitoba’s tight oil reservoirs.

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Business strengths:

  • In addition to the province’s rich mineral resources, Manitoba offers a number of business advantages that support mining and petroleum exploration and development including: a comprehensive geoscience knowledge-base; financial incentives; a transparent land-tenure system; competitive business costs; skilled labour; environmental stewardship balanced with industry needs; a high-quality transportation infrastructure; access to a sea port; and low-cost, reliable electricity.

  • Recent initiatives to support mineral and petroleum exploration and development include:
    • Renewal of the Mineral Exploration Assistance Program for 2015/16. The program provides funding of $3.0 million through one offering per year. Since 1995, Manitoba has invested a total of $31.6 million through its Mineral Exploration Assistance Program to support 796 exploration projects. These projects have generated $252.4 million in company spending for exploration in the province.

    • The Manitoba Geoscience Advantage Program, which provides $400,000 a year for three years to provide new geoscience information supporting mineral exploration in the province.

    • The Manitoba Drilling Incentive Program, which provides incentives to explore and develop petroleum resources in the province, was revised and extended at the end of 2013 through to December 31, 2018.

    • A progressive mining tax rate of 10, 15 or 17 per cent based on profits and other mining tax incentives making Manitoba among the most competitive mining tax regimes in Canada.

    • A 30 per cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit offers Manitoba tax payers the most generous mineral exploration tax credit in the country.

    • The online Integrated Mining and Quarrying System (iMaQs) streamlines the administration processes under Manitoba’s mining legislation and allows companies to manage their mineral dispositions from anywhere in the world at any time.

    • Online access to geoscientific and mineral tenure information on Manitoba’s mineral and petroleum resources has been enhanced through the GIS Map Gallery.

    • Opened in September 2012, the new Northern Manitoba Mining Academy located in Flin Flon and Thompson, established by the Manitoba government in collaboration with industry, educational institutions, and municipal and federal governments, includes state-of-the-art mining simulators, and will provide a regional hub for the development and administration of mining and geoscience training across the North.

    • Through the Northern Essential-Skills Training Initiative, Manitoba continues to work with the Northern Manitoba Sector Council to deliver training initiatives to address skill shortages in the mining sector.

    • More than $200 million spent to date on the ongoing rehabilitation of orphaned and abandoned mine sites across the province.

  • Manitoba has been recognized nationally and globally as one of the best places for mining and petroleum investment:

    • Manitoba’s effective mining tax rate is ranked fourth in Canada according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers 2013 Canadian mining tax report.

    • In 2014, Manitoba ranked as the second best jurisdiction in Canada to invest in petroleum exploration and development, as rated by oil industry executives in the Fraser Institute's ‘Global Petroleum Survey’. For the previous five years, Manitoba ranked as the best (2009, 2010, 2012) or second-best (2011, 2013) nationally.



Chris Beaumont-Smith
Director, Mines Branch
Manitoba Mineral Resources
Tel:  204-945-6505
Fax: 204-945-8427
E-mail: Chris.Beaumont-Smith@gov.mb.ca
Web: www.manitoba.ca/minerals

Keith Lowdon
Director, Petroleum Branch
Manitoba Mineral Resources
Tel:  204-945-6574
Fax: 204-945-0586
E-mail: Keith.Lowdon@gov.mb.ca
Web: www.gov.mb.ca/iem/petroleum/

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