The Canadian economy thrives on its trade in natural resources. In fact the mining industry is the reason that Canada is able to survive. Canada has 3 territories and 10 provinces and each of these have operational mining operations taking place in them. Only 20 percent of the total mineral production is for local use, the rest is exported.
While Canada’s silver production is ranked number 11 in the world, they are one of the leading producers of gold, molybdenum, nickel, potash, zinc and of uranium. In 2009 the country produced 19.6 million ounces of silver according to the Silver Institute.
During 2009, Canada reported a loss of 1 million ounces even though globally, silver production increased by 4 percent. It is believed that Canada could do with more silver mines and this is why they are not ranked higher than number 11 in terms of silver production. In 2010, silver contributed 30 percent to the total global mining production figures.
In most cases, silver is produced as a by-product of other precious metals that are mined in metal mines. This is no exception in Canada. The NRC (Natural Resources Canada) reports that mines in Canada are fundamentally polymetallic. This translates to the fact that lead zinc ores, gold, copper-nickel and copper-zinc are the main sources of silver in the country.
Fifty five percent of the silver mine reserves were in copper-zinc ore in 2008 according to the NRC. Silver and gold ore contributed 23 percent and lead-zinc ore 18 percent. Nickel-copper ore supplied 4 percent of the nation’s silver. Even though Canada’s ranking is low, the silver mining industry is a serious contributor to the economy of the country. Kootenay in British Columbia and Cobalt Ontario are the two areas where most of the silver rushes take place in Canada. British Columbia is world renowned for its strength in precious metals.
Apart from British Columbia and Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec are two other centers that dominate in the supply of silver for the country. Quebec supplies the most with figures of 29 percent, Ontario come in second at 24 percent, New Brunswick and British Columbia follow with percentages of 18 and 16 percent respectively. Canada’s average silver production each year is in excess of 1000 tonnes. New Brunswick contributed 184 tonnes, Quebec 155 tonnes, Ontario 138 tonnes and British Columbia provided 74 tonnes of the precious metal. The NRC supplied this data and it was for the year 2009.
Several companies are currently exploiting the Yukon, Nunavut and British Columbia for silver as these places are considered to be hot beds for development projects for the purposes of resource exploration in Canada. British Columbia (BC) has produced precious metals for many years and has subsequently become the corporate base for numerous mining companies in Canada. The history of mining in BC dates back to 1909. British Columbia was at one time considered to be one of the world’s top producing mining districts. It is estimated that its total silver production had so far been 280 million trillion ounces, which is a substantial quantity of silver, physical silver that is.