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Minerals Policy and Business Development

Manitoba Mineral Sector Profile

Current as of August 6, 2014


The mining and petroleum industries make up the second-largest primary resource industry of Manitoba’s economy.  The 2013 value of mining and petroleum production totalled $3.1 billion, comprising:

  • Metallic minerals ($1.11 billion or 35.8%, with nickel accounting for 38.1%, copper 20.7%, gold 21.5%, zinc 14.1%, silver 2.1% and other metals 3.8% of total value of metals)

  • Industrial Minerals ($226.8 million or 7.3%) and

  • Petroleum ($1.76 billion or 56.8%). 
Related Links

Manitoba Mineral/Petroleum Industry Statistics 2008 to 2014

Natural Resources Canada Minerals and Mining Statistics Division

Manitoba Operating Mines

In 2013, capital expenditures on mining and petroleum development totalled an estimated $1.4 billion, and the industries accounted for approximately 7% of provincial GDP and about 8.7% of total exports.  Manitoba’s mining and petroleum industries directly employ an average of 6,300 people annually.

In 2013, Manitoba produced*:

  • 19.3 % of Canada's zinc
  • 12.6 % of Canada's nickel
  • 5 % of Canada's copper
  • 4 % of Canada's gold
  • 4.5 % 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 cobalt and 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 8 producing mines, 1 operating smelter and 2 refineries.

  • There are about 11 major producers active in the industrial minerals sector in Manitoba.

  • There are 39 companies that produce oil in Manitoba, ranging from large multinationals to small locally based producers. 530 new wells were drilled in 2013. At December 2013, Manitoba had 3862 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: 

  • In 2013, the value of production decreased 14% for metals; increased by 9.9% for petroleum; and increased 10% for industrial minerals; total production value was $3.1 billion, a 2.3% decrease from 2012.
  • Exploration expenditures totalled $57.7 million for 2013, a 45 per cent decrease from 2012. Continuing instability in global economies and financial markets has created uncertainty in mineral investment, resulting in a reappraisal of exploration programs, and accordingly, is expected to negatively impact exploration spending intentions for 2014, which are estimated at $51.8 M.

  • Oil production in Manitoba has grown rapidly, increasing 381% since 2004, and setting a new annual production record of 19.2 million barrels in 2012 valued at $1.76 billion, a 9.9% increase in the value over 2012. Oil companies invested $1.3 billion in 2013.

Advanced exploration projects:

  • Lalor Project (zinc-copper-gold) 100% HudBay Minerals, Inc.:  A $794 million development of a 4500 tonne-per-day (tpd) underground mine and concentrator will increase production to 2700 tpd with the commissioning of the main shaft in the second quarter of 2014. Full production, and the construction of a new 4500 tpd concentrator, has been delayed beyond 2015 due to poor commodity prices.   The base-metal resource stands at over 18 million tonnes and the gold resource over 10 million tonnes. Exploration drilling of the deeper portions of the deposit continues from underground.
  • Snow Lake mine (gold) 100% Northern Sun Mining Corp.  QMX Gold Corporation (formerly Alexis Minerals Corporation) recently sold the former New Britannia Mine to Northern Sun Mining (name changed from Liberty Mines Inc.).  The $20 million purchase will pave the way for the re-opening of the mine with the financial ability of Northern Sun Mining to assemble the required $50 million of required pre-production financing.  Once re-opened, the New Britannia mine will produce 80,000 to 90,000 ounces of gold per annum for at least five years and employ approximately 240 workers.
  • Monument Bay Project (gold) 100% Mega Precious Metals Inc.  Project is proceeding towards feasibility study. The recent inclusion of recoverable tungsten significantly improves the projects economics, gold resource approaching 3 million ounces. The conceptual mine 200,000 ounce per annum will be one of the largest gold mine in Manitoba once built. Mega Precious Metals and Pacific Road Resources announced that they have entered into an agreement pursuant to which Pacific Road has agreed to invest approximately US$3.0 million in Mega.  Pursuant to the terms of the Definitive Agreement, Pacific Road will have the right to invest three additional tranches for a total investment of up to US$40 million as the Company advances the Monument Bay Project.  

  • Lynn Lake project (gold) 100% Carlisle Goldfields: Carlisle has completed a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) in advance of feasibility studies.  The positive PEA assessed the economics of the construction of a central processing facility drawing feed from the MacLellan deposit.  Carlisle has outlined over 4.8 million ounce gold resource that will support a conceptual 100,000 to 200,000 ounces of gold per annum mine. 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 project received environmental licensing in September, 2013 allowing ramp-up to full production of approximately 1300 tpd in the fourth quarter of 2013.  A National Instrument 43-101–compliant resource announced April 1, 2011 outlines an Indicated Resource of 2.55 million tonnes of 4.52% copper. The high-grade, near-surface copper deposit will be trucked to the Flin Flon concentrator.
  • HudBay continues development of the Lalor mine in the Snow Lake region. HudBay estimates capital costs of the Lalor mine at $794 million. The Lalor mine is scheduled to increase production to 2700 tpd with the commissioning of the main shaft during the second quarter of 2014. In response to persistent low metal prices, HudBay has deferred the construction of the new $325 million Lalor concentrator, opting to spend $9.0 million to refurbish their existing Snow Lake concentrator. Current production from the 777, Lalor and Reed mines supports HudBay’s Flin Flon metallurgical complex.
  • San Gold Corporation continues to expand their mining operation at Bissett with ongoing exploration successes that will help the company attain their 2013 production target of between 95,000 and 105,000 ounces.

  • CaNickel Mining Limited (formerly Crowflight Minerals Inc.) CaNickel 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 Inland Cement Limited

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 750 years after initial production. In 2006, San Gold Corporation reopened the gold mine at Bissett, where the mining history of the region’s mineral-rich Rice Lake gold belt dates back to 1911, and where ongoing exploration successes have enabled San Gold to expand production every year.
  • 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 2014/15. The program provides funding of $3.0 million through one offering per year. Since 1995, Manitoba has invested a total of $29 million through its Mineral Exploration Assistance Program to support 786 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 $160 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 2013, 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 four years, Manitoba ranked as the best (2009, 2010, 2012) or second-best (2011) nationally.



Chris Beaumont-Smith
A/Manager, Minerals Policy and Business Development
Manitoba Mineral Resources
Tel:  204-945-6566
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.manitoba.ca/minerals

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