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Canada's natural resource wealth, 2013

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Released: 2015-03-26

The value of Canada's natural resource assets stood at $744 billion in 2013, down 13% from 2012. This followed a 29% decline a year earlier.

Energy resources accounted for 66% of the value of all natural resource assets in 2013, followed by minerals (19%) and timber (15%).

Energy resource assets consist of coal, crude bitumen, crude oil and natural gas. After decreasing by 30% the previous year, the value of these assets fell 7% from their 2012 level to $494 billion in 2013. Declines in the value of coal resources accounted for much of this change.

The value of mineral assets fell 38% to $138 billion in 2013, following a 31% decline a year earlier. In general, lower prices for mineral assets compared with the previous year contributed to the decline. The change in potash value was the largest contributor to the decrease.

The value of timber assets increased 9% in 2013, following a 15% decrease in 2012.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Natural resource assets, 2003 to 2013 - Description and data table
Natural resource assets, 2003 to 2013

Chart 1: Natural resource assets, 2003 to 2013 - Description and data table

  Note to readers

Data for this release came from the Natural Resource Asset Accounts (NRAA). These accounts measure the value of natural resource assets; for example, reserves of metal ore in the ground or accessible stands of timber in forests. For mineral and energy resources, reserves are defined by the amount of proven and probable stocks that are economical to extract using available technology. For timber resources, only the stocks that are physically accessible and available for harvesting are accounted for.

Changes to the Natural Resource Asset Accounts

As of reference year 2013, data for the NRAA program have been revised to reflect changes made to the underlying capital stock data used in the estimation of the value of natural resource assets. These changes reflect the recent redesign of the Flows and Stocks of Fixed Capital Program of the Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (CSMA). The methodology for estimating the flows and stocks of fixed capital has been redeveloped to ensure greater coherence of the capital stock program within the CSMA. This is done by incorporating investment flows directly from the CSMA on a detailed industry/asset basis. The redesigned program incorporates updated depreciation profiles and service lives into its capital stock estimates; in addition, the program's classification (by industry and asset class) is now based on the input-output final demand classification. For more information on the redesign, see "Changes to the Flows and Stocks of Fixed Capital."

As a result of these changes, the 'return to produced capital' and 'depreciation of produced capital' components of the natural resource stock assets estimates program were revised slightly downward for most resource assets. As natural resource assets are valued net of these capital costs, most natural resource assets within the NRAA program were revised upward to an extent. Revisions apply to the entire time series, from 1961 onwards for energy resources, mineral resources and timber. For more information on the calculation of natural resource asset values, see chapter 3 of Concepts, Sources and Methods of the Canadian System of Environmental and Resource Accounts (Catalogue number16-505-G).

As of reference year 2012, Statistics Canada has implemented some important methodological changes to the NRAA program to align with the new international standard for environmental accounting, the System of Environmental Economic Accounting 2012.

For more information, see "Methodological changes made to the Natural Resource Stock Accounts as of reference year 2012" (survey number 5114).

Contact information

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