Natural Resources in Canada

Natural Resources in Canada

Canada has an abundance of natural resources. Canada is the third-largest producer in the world of both natural gas and hydroelectricity, the second-largest producer of uranium and the sixth-largest producer of oil. Canada has over two hundred active mines turning out more than sixty different minerals and metals, including more potash than anyone else. Minerals and elements mined in the country also include iron ore, silver, copper, nickel and gold. Other natural resources include fish, molybdenum and diamonds.

Canada is one of the primary global exporters of forest products from thirty percent of the world’s boreal forests and ten percent of the overall global forest cover. Eastern Canada cuts down a section of the forests for pulp and paper products manufacturing, while Western Canada is in charge of manufacturing wood products.

Canada is slowly expanding its exploration to Canada's Arctic region. Some of the discovered natural resources in Northern Canada are metallic ores and oil and gas resources.

The provinces and territories have the following natural resources:

British Columbia

Coastal and central interior coniferous forests, base-metal deposits and coal and natural-gas resources. The Peace and Columbia rivers have been developed for hydroelectricity and considerable potential remains, particularly in the north. Other major rivers and many smaller streams support a large fishing industry.

Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut

Covering almost forty per cent of Canada, much of the resource base is yet to be developed, though the potential may be considerable. Most attention is being given to exploration for petroleum in the Mackenzie Delta, Beaufort Sea and the north-western Arctic islands.


As a mixture of sand, clay, water, bitumen and other minerals, oil sands account for approximately ninety-seven percent of the country's oil reserves. North-eastern Alberta is home to three major oil sand deposits, with the Athabasca oil sands being the largest known reservoir of crude bitumen in the world. The Western Sedimentary Basin holds large resources of coal, oil and gas. The Rocky Mountains contain large coal resources.


The world's largest exporter and second-largest producer of potash. Large uranium resources in northern areas make the province the second-largest producer in Canada. Lignite coal is found here and Saskatchewan shares a portion of the Lloydminster oil fields with Alberta.


Nickel is the major mineral produced, with copper, lead, zinc and precious metals mined locally in significant quantities. Some northward-flowing rivers have already been developed for hydroelectricity, others have potential for development. A promising hydrocarbon area has been identified along the southern border. There are also fish stocks and forest resources.


The province leads Canada in production of nickel, uranium, zinc, gold and silver and is second to BC in production of copper. There is a major forest-product industry and hydroelectricity from the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence River.


Québec has the most developed and potential hydroelectric resources in Canada. Ranking third in the productivity of its extensive forested area, important mineral resources include asbestos, iron, gold and some base metals.

The Atlantic Provinces

The location of Canada's largest fishing industry. Other renewable resources include forests and hydroelectric resources. Onshore mineral-resources include a large base-metal resource in northern New Brunswick, iron and salt. There are coal deposits in Nova Scotia's Cape Breton area and significant potential for offshore oil and gas.