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Monthly Mineral Production Survey, September 2020

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Released: 2020-11-20

Metallic and non-metallic minerals both contribute to increase in value of shipments

During the third quarter, the value of shipments saw an overall recovery in the total of metallic and non-metallic minerals. The total value of shipments increased 23.6% to $3.0 billion in September, after a 5.8% increase in August and a 14.7% decrease in July. In September, the value of shipments of minerals was comparable to those in March, indicating a recovery from April 2020, when the value of shipments was adversely affected by shutdowns ordered due to the pandemic.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Total value of shipments of minerals
Total value of shipments of minerals

Gold and copper drive growth in value of metallic mineral shipments

The value of metallic mineral shipments posted a large gain in September, rising 30.3% to $2.2 billion, after a 12.1% increase in August and a 20.6% decrease in July. The recent gain is largely driven by a rise in demand for gold and copper, which accounted for 91.1% of the increase in September and 44.2% of the increase in August. The July decline was mainly attributable to both commodities, with copper posting a 39.9% drop and gold, a 17.6% decline.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Value of shipments of metallic minerals
Value of shipments of metallic minerals

Metallic mineral production quantity declines

In September, metallic mineral production edged down 0.2% to 5.4 billion kilograms. September's increase in iron ore production (+0.8% or +43.2 million kilograms) was not enough to offset decreases registered in a variety of other metallic commodities. Production growth in iron ore (+1.5%) and copper (+25.7%) drove the increase posted in August (+2.1%). The decrease noted in July's production (-1.0%) was mainly a result of a decline in iron ore production (-1.0%).

Non-metallic mineral shipments rise in September

In September, the value of non-metallic shipments recorded an increase of 8.5% to $799.1 million, following two consecutive monthly declines (-6.3% in August and -0.8% in July). The most significant increases in September were seen in muriate of potash (+13.7%) and potassium oxide (+15.5%). The growth in potash products reflects a recovery in demand for fall fertilizer. The increase followed two consecutive months of decline, which is in line with the slowing down of the farming season. The value of all non-metallic shipments posted gains in September, in contrast with August and July, when clay products were the sole commodity to post an increase in the value of shipments.

The quantity of non-metallic mineral shipments grew 13.6% to 4.8 million tonnes in September, after posting a 6.6% decline in August and a 5.9% decrease in July. All commodities contributed to the growth in September, in stark contrast to the two previous months, when only two commodities posted an increase (gypsum in August [+16.2%]; lime in July [+0.1%]).

Chart 3  Chart 3: Month-to-month change in the value of non-metallic mineral shipments
Month-to-month change in the value of non-metallic mineral shipments

Non-metallic mineral production and inventory increase in September

The quantity of non-metallic mineral production increased 14.5% to 3.6 million tonnes in September. The increase followed a 7.9% decrease in August and a 1.3% gain in July. Salt was the largest contributor to the increase in September (+32.9%) and also drove the overall drop in August (-11.3%).

Non-metallic inventory grew 7.7% to 2.1 million tonnes in September, following a 2.4% increase in August and a 2.8% rise in July. The increase in September was largely driven by salt (+32.5%), with rock salt (+34.3%) being stockpiled in preparation for winter.

British Columbia and Ontario lead September increase in value of shipments

Significant increases in the value of mineral shipments were observed in most provinces and territories in September, led by British Columbia (+76.1%) and Ontario (+29.3%). In British Columbia, copper, gold and silver were the main contributors. In Ontario, the value of shipments of gold registered the largest increase.

  Note to readers

The Monthly Mineral Production Survey estimates the production, shipments and inventories of Canada's leading minerals. This survey covers several metallic minerals (iron, gold, silver, etc.) and non-metallic minerals (diamonds, gypsum, potash, salt, etc.).

The Monthly Survey of Smelters and Metal Refineries covers smelters and metal refineries for a variety of base metals, including copper, lead, nickel and zinc.

The Monthly Mineral Production Survey has been redesigned over the last couple of years and is now conducted within the Integrated Business Statistics Program, as part of the Minerals and Metals Production Statistics Program modernization initiative.

Data from the Monthly Mineral Production Survey and the Monthly Survey of Smelters and Metal Refineries are released every month and a detailed review is released every three months, on the month ending the quarter.

Data are not seasonally adjusted.

Data for the two previous months are subject to revision based on late responses. Data for July and August 2020 have been revised with this release.

Data prior to 2020 can be found on the Production of Canada's Leading Minerals page of the Natural Resources Canada website.

Data for Quebec is collected by the Institut de la statistique du Québec (ISQ). In some cases data is not available for Quebec, and Quebec's estimates may not be directly comparable to data published for the rest of Canada. For example, the value of shipments from Quebec mines is not currently collected by ISQ. As a result, total value of Canadian shipments only covers activity outside Quebec.

Statistics Canada is working with the ISQ to harmonize the survey content, so that respondents operating in Quebec will eventually answer the same monthly questionnaire being distributed to the rest of the provinces and territories.

Unless otherwise stated, metallic mineral production and shipments refer to recovered content from concentrates, whereas metallic mineral inventories refer to concentrates.

Non-metallic mineral shipment and production quantity exclude diamonds, given it is measured in carats.

The value of shipments facilitates comparison between mineral commodities since the units of measure of quantities produced or shipped vary dramatically from one mineral to another (iron in millions of tonnes versus diamonds in carats).

Contact information

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