Manitoba's Mineral Industry

Manitoba Mineral Sector Profile

Last updated March 7, 2017


Manitoba currently ranks 2nd in the world for mining investment attractiveness according to the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2016. This survey rated 104 jurisdictions around the world using criteria based on mining potential and public policy factors such as taxation and regulation of the industry.


The mining and petroleum industries make up the second-largest primary resource industry of Manitoba’s economy.  The 2016 value of mining and petroleum production totalled $2.1 billion (preliminary estimate), comprising

In 2015, capital expenditures on mining and petroleum development totalled an estimated $877 million, and the industries accounted for approximately 3.5% of the province's economy and 6.3% of total exports. Manitoba’s mining and petroleum industries directly employed approximately 5,200 people in 2016.

In 2016, Manitoba produceda:

  • 34.7% of Canada's zinc
  • 6.3% of Canada’s cobalt
  • 11.1% of Canada's nickel
  • 6.1% of Canada's copper
  • 2% of Canada's gold
  • 9.8% 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.

a Preliminary estimates current as of February 2017; source: Natural Resources Canada

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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 7 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 44 companies producing oil in Manitoba, ranging from large multinationals to small locally based producers. 81 new wells were drilled in 2016 and as of December 31, 2016, Manitoba had 3907 producing oil wells and 693 support 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.

Exploration and development highlights: 

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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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.

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 percent 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, 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 $214 million spent to date on the ongoing rehabilitation of orphaned and abandoned mine sites across the province.



Chris Beaumont-Smith
Director, Mines and Geological Survey
Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade
Tel:  204-945-6505
Fax: 204-945-8427

Jim Crone
Petroleum and Energy
Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade
Tel: 204-945-1874
Fax: 204-943-0031

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