Mineral exploration values

Highlights

Ontario is a world-class mining jurisdiction and is among the top 10 jurisdictions in the world for mineral exploration spending. Ontario is one of the leading producers of gold, nickel and platinum group elements.

In 2021, gold was the most sought-after mineral in Ontario, with exploration spending of $626 million totaling 71% of the province’s total exploration spending.

Exploration spending in 2021

LocationExploration spending ($ million)Percentage (%)
Off mine site21124
On mine site66776
Total878100

Exploration spending by mineral

MineralExploration spending ($ million)Percentage (%)
Gold62671
Base metalsfootnote 119022
PGEfootnote 2364
Co, Li & other263
Total878100

Exploration spending by critical mineral type

Ontario is well-positioned to be a global supplier of critical minerals with its vast supply of minerals, processing capabilities and world-class mining supply and services sector.

MineralExploration spending ($ million)Percentage (%)
Nickel13957
Platinum group elements3615
Lithium73
Cobalt52
Other critical minerals*footnote 3(REE, copper, etc.)5723
Total244100

Note: Data has been aggregated to preserve confidentiality, numbers may not add up due to rounding.

Source: Natural Resources Canada

Mining lands activity

As of December 31, 2021, there are 317,426 active mining claims in Ontario.

You can acquire and register mining claims, obtain or renew a prospector’s licence and maintain your mining lands online 24/7 through the Mining Lands Administration System (MLAS).

World’s largest mining capital market: TSX & TSX-V

Toronto, Ontario is the mining finance capital of the world.

The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and Toronto Venture Exchange (TSX-V) list more mining companies than any other exchange with over 1,150 listed in 2021. The Toronto Stock Exchange and Toronto Venture Exchange are first among exchanges worldwide in equity capital raised and are home to about 43% of the public mining companies in the world.

Mineral production values

Highlights

Ontario is one of Canada’s top mineral producers, generating $11.1 billion worth of minerals in 2021 – representing 20% of Canada’s total mineral production value.

Gold production in Ontario

Valued at $5.8 billion, Ontario produced 99,793 kilograms of gold in 2021.

Gold production in Canada

In 2021, 42% of Canada’s total gold production came from Ontario.

Critical mineral production and exploration

Chromite

The Ring of Fire, in the Far North of Ontario, has the second largest chromite deposit globally in terms of tonnes of ore resources.

Cobalt

In 2021, Ontario produced an estimated 1,131 tonnes of by-product cobalt worth $53 million, making up 27% of Canada’s cobalt production.

Copper

Copper produced in Ontario in 2021 totaled 23% of Canada’s copper production by value with 127,148 tonnes valued at $1,018 million.

Graphite

Ontario has several active graphite exploration programs.

Lithium

Ontario has several hard-rock lithium deposits that are being actively explored in the hopes of eventually supplying raw materials for electric vehicle batteries.

Nickel

In 2021, Ontario produced 48,675 tonnes of nickel valued at $758 million (29% of Canada’s nickel production by value).

Platinum Group Elements (PGE)

In 2021, Ontario produced 67% of Canada’s PGEfootnote 2 production by value with an estimated 15,815 kilograms of PGEfootnote 2 valued at $1.2 billion.

Vanadium

Ontario has exploration potential for vanadium exploration in the northwest.

Chromite

Highlights

Chromite is the major ore mineral of chromium.

Chromium is the stainless in stainless steel and is used in many manufacturing processes because of its resistance to rust, shiny appearance and very high melting point.

Current estimates suggest the Ring of Fire has multi-generational potential of chromite production and significant potential production of nickel, copper and platinum.

Map of chromite occurrences in Ontario

Image
Map displaying chromite occurrences developed prospect with resources in northern and central Ontario. Other occurrences scattered across western and eastern Ontario.
LocationName
1Blackbird 1 and 2
2Black Horse
3Big Daddy Chromite
4Black Creek
5Black Thor
6Black Label
7Chrome Lake Mine

Cobalt

Highlights

An estimated 1,131 tonnes of by-product cobalt worth $53 million were produced in Ontario in 2021 amounting to 27% of Canada’s cobalt production by value.

115,440 tonnes of cobalt have been produced in Ontario between 1904 and 2021.

Cobalt is a critical element in lithium-ion batteries and other clean technologies. Demand for this strategic commodity is expected to increase in the coming years as the market for electric vehicles grows.

The town of Cobalt, Ontario, known for its significant historical silver and cobalt production, is a national heritage site and is considered the birthplace of Canadian hard-rock mining.

Map of cobalt occurrences in Ontario

Image
Map of Ontario identifying cobalt occurrences. Developed prospect with resources displayed across central Ontario, developed prospect without resources in eastern Ontario and past and current producers in eastern Ontario
Location numberName
1Werner Lake
2Dobie
3Junior Lake
4Norton Lake
5Hollinger Zone
6Dundonald South
7Darby
8Northland Pyrites
9Lockerby
CCobalt-Gowganda Camp
SSudbury
MMontcalm Mine
SIShebandowan Inco Mine
RRedstone & McWatters Mines
LLac des Iles

Gold

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Highlights

Gold is the most sought-after mineral in Ontario, topping the charts with exploration spending of $626 million or 71% of the province’s total exploration spending in 2021.

In 2021, 3.2 million troy ounces of gold valued at $5.8 billion were produced in Ontario totalling 42% of Canada’s gold production by value.

Ontario is home to 18 producing gold mines and 13 advanced exploration gold projects.

With three gold mines recently opened and more than 30 mineral deposits each having more than 500,000 troy ounces of gold (measured and indicated resources inclusive of reserves) located in traditional camps and beyond, Ontario has plenty of resources for the future.

Map of gold occurrences in Ontario

Image
Map depicting gold occurrences in Ontario in tonnes, with yellow representing reserves and red representing past production across central and eastern Ontario

Graphite

Highlights

Ontario has several advanced exploration projects and active graphite exploration programs.

The Black Donald Mine, located approximately 100 kilometres southwest of Ottawa, produced 77,000 tonnes of graphite between 1896 and 1954 which is approximately 75% of Ontario’s graphite production to date.

Graphite has been used traditionally in high-temperature lubricants, electrical motors and batteries. New uses are being discovered for graphite including lithium-ion batteries, solar power and electric vehicles.

Demand for this strategic commodity is expected to increase as the market for batteries to power electric vehicles and other clean technologies grows.

Map of graphite occurrences in Ontario

Image
Map of graphite occurrences in Ontario identifying south eastern Ontario as the region with the most instances of developed prospect with resources and the region as the producer of graphite, both past and present.
Map NumberName
1Albany
2Kearney
3Bissett Creek (Northern Graphite Corp.)
4National Graphite
5Beidelman-Lyall
6Black Donald Graphite
7Meadow Lake Zone
8Stewart Lake
9N.A. Timmins Graphite
10Globe Graphite
11Portland

Lithium

Highlights

Lithium is found in most battery-operated items, such as smartphones, portable computers and electric vehicles.

Lithium is also used in glass and ceramics to increase strength and durability, especially at high temperatures.

Demand for this strategic commodity is expected to increase in the coming years as the market for batteries that power electric vehicles and other clean technologies grows.

Ontario has hard-rock lithium deposits that are being explored actively.

Map of lithium occurrences in Ontario

Image
Map of lithium occurrences in Ontario identifying western Ontario as the region with the most instances of developed prospect with resources. Other lithium occurrences are scattered across central and western Ontario.
Map numberName
1Big Whopper (Separation Rapids)
1Big Mack
2Pakeagama Lake
2Spark Pegmatite
3Mavis Lake
4Wisa Lake
5McCombe
6Pollucite Dyke
6Rubellite Dyke
7Nama Creek (Georgia Lake area)
7McVittie (Georgia Lake area)
7Jean Lake (Georgia Lake area)
7Aumacho (Georgia Lake area)
7Vegan (Georgia Lake area)
7Jackpot (Georgia Lake area)
8North Aubry (Seymour Lake)
8South Aubry (Seymour Lake)

Nickel, copper, platinum group elements (Ni-Cu-PGE)

Nickel (Ni)

In 2021, 48,675 tonnes of nickel valued at $758 million were produced in Ontario, amounting to 29% of Canada’s nickel production by value.

Nickel is an important metal used in the manufacturing of stainless steel, high-strength alloys, aerospace components and construction materials.

Copper (Cu)

Copper produced in Ontario in 2021 totalled 127,148 tonnes valued at $1,018 million, amounting to 23% of Canada’s copper production by value.

The average home contains approximately 181.4 kilograms of copper that is used for electrical wiring, pipes and appliances.

Platinum Group Elements (PGE)

PGE include platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), rhodium (Rh), ruthenium (Ru), iridium (Ir) and osmium (Os).

In 2021, 508,453 troy ounces of PGE valued at $1,213 million were produced in Ontario, totalling 67% of Canada’s PGE production by value.

Platinum and palladium are essential elements in the production of catalytic converters, medical and dental equipment, as well as jewelry.

Map of nickel, copper, platinum group elements occurrences in Ontario

Image
Map of nickel, copper and platinum group elements (PGE) occurrences. Yellow spheres represent the PGE in kilograms with highest occurrences in central Ontario. Green and grey spheres represent nickel and copper with most occurrences in south eastern Ontario
LocationName
1Thierry Mine
2Shebandowan Mine
3Lac Des Iles Mine
4Montcalm
5Redstone
6Texmont
7Alexo Mine
8McWatters
9Langmuir
10Temagami Copper Mine
11Kanichee Mine
12Keeley-Frontier Mine
SSudbury Camp

Vanadium

Highlights

Vanadium is used in the production of steel to add strength and heat resistance. Approximately 80% of all vanadium produced goes into making steel. Ontario has hard-rock vanadium deposits that are being actively explored.

Demand for this strategic commodity is expected to increase in the coming years. This is due to the market growth for liquid vanadium redox-flow batteries that can store large amounts of power generated by solar and wind farms and other clean technologies.

Map of vanadium occurrences in Ontario

Image
Carte des occurrences de vanadium montrant les prospects développés avec des ressources par rapport aux autres occurrences. Les gisements Brazeau et Titan présentent des perspectives développées avec des ressources, tandis que les autres gisements sont dispersés dans le centre et le sud-ouest de l’Ontario.
LocationName
1Brazeau Prospect
2Titan

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