As a major international mineral exporter, Canada’s mining sector is well-positioned to contribute to global demand for materials to support the clean energy transition. The challenge ahead is to bring sector emissions to net zero by modernizing and electrifying extraction and processing techniques.
Canada’s significant mining operations include 200 active mines and 6,500 quarries, contributing 3.5% to national GDP. An exporter of aluminum, copper, cobalt, uranium and other minerals, Canada is beginning to position itself as a supplier of critical materials for the clean energy transition. As demand for critical minerals and rapid decarbonization accelerates, Canada’s mining sector will need to balance production with meeting net-zero goals.
Challenges to decarbonizing the mining sector include the remote location of most mines, sunk investments in existing mining infrastructure, high capital costs for new equipment (for example, electric vehicles, processing equipment, net zero energy supplies) and competitiveness concerns in this globally integrated industry.
To maintain its position as a global mining leader while decarbonizing the sector, Canada must focus on modernizing extraction and processing techniques, electrifying mine operations, and increasing recycling and reuse of existing materials.