Dig this: 9 Canadian mining companies fuelling innovation
Solar panels, electric vehicle batteries, agriculture and more – mining is critical for humanity’s future.
Crews execute a shift change at the Meadowbank open-pit gold mine in the Kivalliq District of Nunavut. – Agnico Eagle Mines
There is no green energy transition without doing some digging.
As the backbone of the green and digital economy, minerals are essential for technologies like batteries, electric cars, wind turbines and solar panels. Building resilient critical minerals value chains with high ESG standards is vital for global sustainability, and Canada aims to lead the way.
According to the federal government, Canada is home to almost half of the world’s publicly listed mining companies and has a market capitalization of $520 billion.
To seize these opportunities, Ottawa recently released the Critical Minerals Strategy backed by a $4-billion budget. The comprehensive strategy not only promises economic growth and job creation but also seeks to strengthen Indigenous reconciliation efforts and foster collaboration with allies.
Of Canada’s 31 critical minerals, six are initially prioritized in the strategy for their distinct potential to spur Canadian economic growth and their necessity as inputs for priority supply chains. These six minerals are lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt, copper, and rare earth elements.
Here’s a list of mining companies that are searching for these minerals and others.
If you are driving around in an electric car, it’s likely thanks to Teck Resources. The century-old, diversified natural resources company headquartered in Vancouver is engaged in mining and mineral development, including coal for the steelmaking, copper, zinc, and energy. Their products are critical for making solar panels and electric vehicles. They are also on a mission be carbon-neutral by 2050 and in the last decade, they have reduced GHG emissions by more than 411,000 tonnes. Their name comes from Teck Township in Kirkland Lake, Ont. where the company developed a gold mine. The mine produced gold until 1968. In addition to Canada and the U.S., Teck has major operations in Chile and Peru.
Nutrien is all about putting food on the table. Formed in 2018 from merger between PotashCorp and Agrium, they are the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services, playing a critical role in helping growers sustainably increase food production. They produce and distribute over 27 million tonnes of potash, nitrogen and phosphate products for agricultural, industrial and feed customers world-wide. A major focus of theirs in recent years has been shifting to automated and tele-remote mining and other digital technologies to safety performance, lower production costs, increase production and reduce emissions.
Toronto-based Barrick Gold owns six tier one gold assets, the most in the world. They also have been building a strategic copper portfolio to support the transition to clean technology. Their CEO, Mark Bristow, recently said that he believes that mining is the “flywheel of development” and mining companies will be critical for reaching the world’s sustainability goals. The group’s current key focus areas are: using its purchasing power to drive down emissions from suppliers; developing a tool to measure its contribution to the conservation and regeneration of biodiversity; continuing to provide ESG raters with the latest sustainability-related information; and progressing the environmental and social studies at the giant Reko Diq project in Balochistan, Pakistan.
First Quantum Minerals
With likely the coolest name on this list, First Quantum Minerals is a Canadian-based mining and metals company whose main activities include mineral exploration, development and mining. Its primary product is copper, which accounts for 80% of revenues. Their team produces copper in the form of concentrate, cathode and anode, and has inventories of nickel, gold and cobalt. They operate long life mines in several countries and employ approximately 20,000 people around the globe. Just this month, Quantum announced it has started production at the Enterprise mine in Zambia, which is set to become Africa’s biggest nickel mine. Nickel is a key component for electric vehicle batteries.
Agnico Eagle Mines
Toronto-based Agnico Eagle Mines has a legacy that traces back to 1957. It has operations in Canada, Finland, Australia and Mexico and exploration and development activities extending to the United States. The company’s flagship LaRonde mine, located in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region 62 kilometres west of Val-d’Or in Quebec, has produced 6.6 million ounces of gold since 1988 and remains a consistent engine of earnings and cash flow for the company.
Pan American Silver Corp.
2023 has been a big year for Pan American. The Vancouver-based mining company has operations in Ontario, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Earlier this year, they completed a massive deal added four Yamana Gold mines to its assets: the Jacobina mining complex in Brazil, the El Peñón and Minera Florida mines in Chile, and the Cerro Moro mine in Argentina. The multi-billion-dollar deal also required Yamana to sell its share of the Canadian Malartic mine to Agnico Eagle Mines.
Toronto-based Lundin Mining Corporation has a global presence. It owns and operates mines in Sweden, the United States, Chile, Portugal, and Brazil. These mines are focused on the extraction of essential base metals like copper, zinc, and nickel. The company’s headquarters are based in Toronto, and it was initially established by Adolf Lundin, later operated by Lukas Lundin. Originally, the company’s primary interest was in a diamond mine located in Brazil. However, it later underwent a restructuring phase and successfully raised funds to develop the Storliden mine in Sweden. Over time, Lundin Mining Corporation expanded its portfolio by acquiring significant assets.
Avalon Advanced Materials
Avalon Advanced Materials, formerly known as Avalon Rare Metals Inc., is a Canadian mineral development company based in Toronto. They have a unique focus on rare metals and minerals that play a crucial role in emerging technologies. Among their key assets are the Nechalacho Project located in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, the Separation Rapids near Minaki, Ont., the East Kemptville in Nova Scotia, Lilypad Cesium near Ignace, Ont., and the Warren Township in Ontario. Avalon recently Announced $63M strategic investment by Sibelco to create a vertically integrated lithium strategic partnership.
Hudbay Minerals has a rich Canadian history spanning over 90 years. It has been a key player in mining copper concentrate, which includes valuable deposits of copper, gold, and silver. Flin Flon, Manitoba, has been a focal point of its operations for decades. Presently, Hudbay operates in both Manitoba and Peru. Additionally, the company is actively engaged in establishing a copper mine in the southern region of Arizona.