Mineral Resources

The mineral industry of Newfoundland and Labrador is critical to the economic health of the province. Foreign exports of mining products have been rising in value since the early 1990s and are commonly of greater value than those of forestry, fish or refined petroleum products.

Value of Foreign Exports
Value of Foreign Exports, Newfoundland and Labrador 1992.

From Stephen Colman-Sadd and Susan A. Scott, Newfoundland and Labrador: Travellers Guide to the Geology (St. John's: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1994).

Value of Mineral Shipments
Value of Mineral Shipments.

Data Source: Department of Mines and Energy, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Adapted by Duleepa Wijayawardhana, 1998.

Claim staking and exploration expenditures since 1995 have shown a dramatic increase, prompted by mineral discoveries in Labrador (Voisey's Bay) and oil exploration on the west coast of the island and offshore.

Claim Staking
Claim Staking.

Data Source: Department of Mines and Energy, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Adapted by Duleepa Wijayawardhana, 1998.

Exploration Expenditures (including Administration and Overhead)
Exploration Expenditures (including Administration and Overhead).

Data Source: Department of Mines and Energy, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Adapted by Duleepa Wijayawardhana, 1998.

The mineral commodity of greatest importance to the provincial economy is iron ore, mined in the Labrador City area. The province produces 55% of Canada's total, some of which is smelted in Ontario, while the remainder is shipped to Germany, the USA, Britain and Japan.

Value of Mineral Shipments, Newfoundland and Labrador, 1993
Value of Mineral Shipments, Newfoundland and Labrador, 1993.

From Stephen Colman-Sadd and Susan A. Scott, Newfoundland and Labrador: Travellers Guide to the Geology (St. John's: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1994).

Canadian Iron Ore Shipments, 1993.
Canadian Iron Ore Shipments, 1993.

From Stephen Colman-Sadd and Susan A. Scott, Newfoundland and Labrador: Travellers Guide to the Geology (St. John's: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1994).

Wages earned by miners represent 21% of all wages and salaries in the province, an amount proportionally much greater than the number of people involved in the industry. Living standards in Labrador City and Wabush, the largest mining centres, are high compared to many other parts of the province because of high wage levels in the mining industry.

Mining Industry Average Employment
Mining Industry Average Employment.

Data Source: Department of Mines and Energy, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Adapted by Duleepa Wijayawardhana, 1998.

Wages and Salaries, Newfoundland and Labrador, 1993
Wages and Salaries, Newfoundland and Labrador, 1993.

From Stephen Colman-Sadd and Susan A. Scott, Newfoundland and Labrador: Travellers Guide to the Geology (St. John's: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1994).

At Hope Brook on the southwest coast, the province's only gold mine was reopened in 1992 and produced gold worth more than $45 million during 1993. Meanwhile mineral exploration companies are actively investigating dozens of other gold and base-metal (copper, lead, zinc) occurrences both on the island and in Labrador.

Structural materials (e.g., building stone, and gravel aggregate for cement) rank third in economic importance. However, this industry is expected to grow steadily, with increasing world recognition of Newfoundland and Labrador's potential for attractive building stone ("dimension stone"). Trial quarrying and intensive marketing of several high-quality rock types have begun, and the response is promising. Quarries are being developed at Nain (anorthosite), Goose Arm and Roddickton (marble), Borney Lake, Lumsden, Seal Cove, Cat Arm, Petites and Topsails (granite), and Nut Cove (slate). Aggregate quarries throughout the province supply local demand and some eastern USA markets.