Mining in Canada

Learn more about the Canadian mining industry.


The Canadian mining industry has come a long way since coal was discovered on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, around 350 years ago. The extraction of minerals and metals are woven into the history and fabric of our country – many communities such as Glace Bay, Rouyn-Noranda, Val d’Or, Sept-Iles, Labrador City, Timmins, Sudbury and Fort McMurray can trace their roots back to mining and exploration.

As one of the world’s largest mining nations, Canada produces more than 60 unique minerals and metals. The mining industry is a major player in the Canadian economy, and generates nearly 5% of the country’s gross domestic product. Mining also accounts for 19% of Canada’s total exports.

Products in Mining

What’s yours is mined!

Did you know we wouldn’t have many of our daily, essential consumer goods without mining?

Metals and minerals are the building blocks of many popular products. They also form the foundation of much of the public infrastructure we take for granted, such as highways, electrical and communications networks and housing.

Here are some examples of mining products in action:

  • Batteries – cadmium, lithium, nickel and cobalt
  • Musical instruments – copper, silver, steel, nickel, brass, cobalt, iron and aluminum
  • Sports equipment – graphite, aluminum, titanium and coal
  • Computer and television screens – silicon, boron, lead, phosphorus and indium
  • Sun protection and medical ointments – zinc
  • Cosmetics and jewellery – gold, diamonds, iron oxide, zinc and titanium dioxide
  • Electricity – coal and uranium
  • Eyeglasses – limestone, feldspar and soda ash
  • Fertilizer – phosphate, nitrogen, sulphur and potash
  • Toothpaste – Fluorite
  • And many more!

Who Works in Mining?


Based on the current economic climate and forecasted business outlook, MiHR research shows that the Canadian mining industry will need to hire approximately 80,000 workers between 2020 and 2030. In order to fill these positions, the Canadian mining industry will have to utilize a more diverse talent pool, including women and men from every nationality and cultural background.


For a decade, MiHR’s research has shown that the mining workforce is consistently older than the overall labour force in Canada. However, the mining industry is showing signs of attracting more young people, and MiHR is doing its part to help attract and retain younger workers to create a more sustainable future for the mining industry.

Click here to learn more about our Gearing Up wage subsidy program.


Women represent 17% of the mining labour force. Ten years ago, that number was closer to 12%, meaning that the number of women working in the sector has increased by 40% in a decade. MiHR’s Gender Equity in Mining (GEM) Works program is working to attract more women to mining and foster a mining and minerals industry where both women and men have the best opportunities for making great contributions and having rewarding careers.

Click here to learn more about GEM Works.


Immigrants represent 13% of the mining labour force. Those working in mining are very highly educated, and in terms of age, are more mature than the general mining workforce.

Click here to learn more about MiHR’s Mining Professional Immigrant Network.

Indigenous Peoples

The representation of Indigenous workers is high in mining compared to other industries, at about 7% compared to 4% of Canada’s workforce.

Click here to learn more about MiHR’s Mining Essentials work-readiness training program.

Mining and Safety Culture

The Canadian mining industry prides itself on its safety culture. Mining companies invest significant time and effort in developing and maintaining a positive safety culture in all aspects of their operations, diligently working with their employees and safety inspectors to reach the goal of zero harm. Mining is a heavily regulated industry in Canada. All mine sites have on-site management professionals dedicated to safety and health in the workplace. Larger mines have numerous specialized safety trainers on site; smaller mines often contract out safety training to specialist companies.

Compensation, Benefits & Rewards

Consider the entire package.

Did you know that the Canadian mining industry is known for its generous compensation and other appealing benefits?

  1. Compensation – Compensation includes a base or fixed pay; earnings per hour or per year. It may also include additional compensation for evening, night and weekend work.
  2. Work-Life Balance – The remote location of many mines means that employees work on a “fly in, fly out” schedule. This allows employees work for a period of seven to 21 days, followed by a period off from work. In accordance with Canadian law, mining employers also pay time off for statutory holidays.
  3. Benefits – Benefits generally include different types of insurance and retirement benefits, which are either fully or partially paid for by the employer. Types of insurance include:
  • Medical, dental and health insurance for the employee and dependants
  • Extended prescription coverage for the employee and dependents
  • Life insurance
  • Supplementary retirement benefits
  • Sick leave
  • Disability income insurance
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP)

Other benefits can include subsidized housing, meals, subsidized daycare, company stock purchase plans, stock options and transportation.

Additional Resources

Canada is recognized globally for its leadership in safety, standards, sustainability and technological innovation. Canadian mining companies were the first in the world to develop an externally verified performance system for sustainable mining practices through the creation of the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining initiative in 2004.

With over 120 occupations, the mining industry offers many attractive career opportunities.

Click here to view our latest Canadian Mining Labour Market Outlook report to learn more about where the industry is headed.

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