What Are Canada's Natural Resources?

A potash mine in Canada. Canada is the world's largest producer of potash.
A potash mine in Canada. Canada is the world's largest producer of potash.

Natural resources form an integral part of nation's economy as they are exploited to provide employment as well as financial gain. Some natural resources are more economically viable than others with several such as petroleum being of great economic benefit. Canada is a North American country with one of the largest economies in the world. Canada's economy has earned it a place in some global organizations such as the G8. The country has some of the vast natural resources that are of great importance to the country's economy.

What Are Canada's Natural Resources?


One of Canada's most vital economic resource is petroleum as the Canadian petroleum reserves are estimated to be the third largest in the whole world. The vast oil reserves have placed Canada among the world's leading producers as well as exporters of oil. The history of the country’s oil industry can be traced back to 1858 when James Williams dug the first oil well. Much of Canada's oil production are in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Canada's major oil-producing region is Alberta as in 2015 it accounted for approximately 80% of the oil produced in Canada. Canada exports vast quantities of its oil with one of its major export destinations being the US. The country has an average annual production of 68,800,000 tons of petroleum


Coal is another of Canada's most essential natural resource as the nation's coal reserves are considered to be the world's fifth largest. Canada's coal mines are primarily located in the western region of the country with some of the greatest coal-producing provinces being British Columbia and Alberta. Research by Pricewaterhouse Cooper indicates that the coal industry contributed $5.2 billion from 2001 to 2010. Coal is a significant source of employment since in 2010 nearly 42,000 people were employed in the industry. The same research also indicated that in 2011 the Canadian coal industry was worth approximately $7 billion which was a significant increase from 2001 when the industry was valued at $1.6 billion. The country has an average annual production of 30,000,000 tons of coal.

Iron Ore

One of the first minerals to be extracted within Canada's borders was iron ore with iron working being the nation's earliest industry. Iron mining is one of the chief industries in Canada as according to the Canadian government, the country ranked eighth in the global production of iron ore in 2016. Canada's output of 47,000,000 tons was 2.1% of the world's total production. Canada's iron ore reserves are the seventh largest in the world at approximately 6,000,000,000 tons. The primary iron ore producing provinces in Canada are Newfoundland and Quebec. Canada exports vast quantities of iron to countries like Germany and the US.


One of Canada's significant resources is potash as Canada ranks first in the production and extraction of the mineral accounting for 29% of the global production of the mineral. The province of Saskatchewan is Canada's leading potash producer. Canada has exported Potash for a long time with records and in 2016, the country produced 17.9 million tons compared to 18.8 tons in 2015.

The Environmental Impact Of Mining In Canada

Mining in Canada poses a significant threat to the environment due to many reasons. One of the largest effects of mining are chemicals draining into water bodies which alter the water's chemical composition. The Canadian government has put in place several measures to regulate the mining industry and protect the environment.

What Are Canada's Natural Resources?

RankResourceAnnual Production (Estimated Tonnes Unless Specified)
3Iron Ore25,000,000
12Silver12.7 million ounces
13Diamonds11.1 million carats

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