Canada is considered one of the world’s premier mining jurisdictions thanks to its refined financial services industry, skilled workforce and robust regulatory environment. The Toronto Stock Exchange is the world’s leading public platform for mining companies to raise the capital required to conduct their mineral exploration, mine development and mining operations. The following companies are the top ten Canadian-headquartered mining companies, ranked according to market capitalization as of June 3, and compiled by our sister company MiningIntelligence.
Market cap: C$51.74 billion ($42.89 billion)
Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) has gold and copper mining operations and projects in 13 countries in North and South America, Africa, Papua New Guinea and Saudi Arabia.
Its diversified portfolio spans many of the world’s prolific gold districts, and the company is focused on high margin, long-life assets.
Barrick operates six ‘tier one’ gold assets: Carlin (including the former Goldstrike operation) and Cortez, both in Nevada; Loulo-Gounkoto in Mali, Kibali in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic; and Turquoise Ridge in the U.S. (To qualify for tier one status, a mine has to have annual production above 500,000 oz., a mine life of at least ten years, and total cash costs in the bottom half of the industry range.)
Last year, Barrick’s 61.5% share in Carlin attributed 1.02 million oz. gold to the company’s production profile. Cortez (61.5%) contributed 491,000 oz.; Loulo-Gounkoto (80%), 544,000 oz.; Kibali (45%) 364,000 oz.; Pueblo Viejo (60%), 542,000 oz.; and Turquoise Ridge (61.5%) 330,000 ounces.
Barrick merged with Randgold Resources in January 2019. That transaction was followed in July 2019 with the combination of Barrick’s Nevada assets with those of Newmont’s to create Nevada Gold Mines (61.5% owned and operated by Barrick).
In September last year, it bought out the minority shareholders in Acacia Mining and took over its Tanzanian assets.
Barrick’s Toronto-quoted equity has lost about 26% in the past 12 months. The board has tripled the dividend since the fall of 2018 and is giving investors a bonus payment of US$0.42 per share in 2021. Barrick Gold finished 2020 with zero net debt.
The Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit: Barrick Gold.
Barrick expects 2021 gold production to be in the range of 4.4 to 4.7 million ounces.
The company’s gold production in the second half will be higher than the first owing to mine sequencing at Nevada Gold Mines, commissioning of the Phase 6 leach pad at Veladero by month-end, as well as Bulyanhulu operations ramping up.
Buzwagi remains on track to enter closure starting from the third quarter.
Barrick’s guidance continues to exclude Porgera, which in 2019 produced 284,000 oz gold. On April 9, the Papua New Guinea government and Barrick Niugini Limited, the 95% owner and operator of the Porgera joint venture, agreed on a partnership for the future ownership and operation of the Porgera mine.
Porgera has been on care and maintenance since April 2020, when the government declined to renew its special mining lease
Total attributable group gold resources increased in 2020, net of depletion and excluding the impact of selling Massawa. Including reserves and reported at a gold price of US$1,500 per oz., attributable measured and indicated resources stood at 3.3 billion tonnes, grading 1.52 grams gold per tonne for 160 million ounces. It has a further 980 million tonnes at 1.4 grams gold per tonne for 43 million oz. inferred.
Market cap: C$43.16 billion ($35.78 billion)
Allan potash mine south of Saskatoon, Canada. (Image courtesy of Nutrien.)
Nutrien (TSX: NTR; NYSE: NTR) was formed in a 2018 merger between Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan — the world’s largest potash producer — and Agrium, a retail supplier of agricultural products and services.
Today, Nutrien is the world’s largest crop inputs and services provider — producing potash, nitrogen and phosphate products — and has some of the world’s highest quality and lowest-cost crop nutrient production assets combined with an extensive agricultural distribution network.
Nutrien has announced it will increase potash production by 500,000 tonnes this year on the back of newly imposed trade sanctions on Belarus. The boost, which will bring total annual sales volumes to 13.8 million tonnes, comes on top of the half million-tonne output increase the world’s biggest fertilizer company announced on June 7.
Potash prices have risen this year on tightening supply and growing demand, as increasing crop prices are spurring farmers to use more fertilizer to maximize yields.
Nutrien’s integrated business model provides a diversified earnings base, underpinned by stable growth in Nutrien Ag Solutions and earnings torque from potash, nitrogen and phosphate. This integrated model generates strong free cash flow and facilitates efficient capital allocation to grow its business while maintaining a solid balance sheet.
Nutrien generated $1.8 billion in free cash flow in 2020.
The board has approved an increase in the quarterly dividend to $0.46 per share, the third dividend increase in three years with an annualized pay-out at $1.84 per share.
Agnico Eagle Mines
Market cap: C$21.06 billion ($17.46 billion)
Drilling underground at the Amruq deposit in Nunavut. Credit: Agnico Eagle Mines.
Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM) has declared a cash dividend every year since 1983. It has mines in Canada, Finland and Mexico and in 2019 brought two new mines into production in the Canadian Arctic.
The company has two producing mines in Nunavut — the Meadowbank complex and the Meliadine mine. In Quebec, it owns the La Ronde complex, Goldex, and Canadian Malartic mines; in Mexico, the La India, Pinos Altos and Creston Mascota mines; and in Finland, the Kittila mine. Its exploration projects include Hammond Reef in north-western Ontario; Kirkland Lake in north-eastern Ontario; Odyssey, East Gouldie and East Malartic in Quebec; and Santa Gertrudis in Mexico’s Sonora state.
As of December 31, Agnico Eagle had more than 24 million oz. gold in 347.77 million tonnes grading 2.15 grams per tonne in proven and probable reserves — one of the highest mineral reserve grades among its North American peers. The company’s goal is to maintain its global reserves at about ten times its annual gold production rate.
Payable gold output totalled 1.74 million oz. gold (including 36,416 oz. of pre-commercial gold production from the IVR pit at Amaruq, the Tiriganiaq open pit at Meliadine, and the Barnat pit at Canadian Malartic).
In 2021, payable gold production is expected to be about 2.05 million ounces. The guidance does not include production from the newly acquired Hope Bay gold project in Nunavut.
First Quantum Minerals
Market cap: C$20.39 billion ($16.9 billion)
Loading a haul truck. Credit: First Quantum Minerals.
First Quantum Minerals (TSX: FM) is an international mining company that has grown through a combination of exploring, developing, operating, and acquiring mining projects or companies with interests in mining activities. The company produces copper in concentrate, copper anode, copper cathode, nickel, gold, zinc, silver, acid and pyrite.
The company has grown from an initial operation reprocessing tailings facilities in Zambia to the recently completed multibillion-dollar Cobre Panama operation.
For the full year 2020, the company reported a comparative loss of C$46 million ($0.07 per share) despite achieving its highest-ever annual copper output at 778,911 tonnes, up 11% year-on-year.
Last year, Sentinel in Zambia performed exceptionally well and was a significant contributor to that record production. Cobre Panama, in Panama, experienced a period of preservation and safe maintenance related to the coronavirus but still performed well, ramping back up to full production in early August.
First Quantum expects its 2021 copper production to grow to more than 785,000 tonnes, increasing to 805,000 to 860,000 tonnes in 2022 and 820,000 to 880,000 tonnes in 2023.
First Quantum has significant nickel resources that complement its world-class copper operations, underpinned by Ravensthorpe and the Enterprise nickel project in Zambia. Enterprise is a 100% owned, largely constructed, high-grade nickel sulphide project located 15 km from the company’s Sentinel mine. The four million tonne per year process plant at Enterprise was completed in 2016 and was temporarily used to process copper ore during the commissioning of Sentinel. Enterprise is expected to produce an average of 28,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate per year over an estimated 11-year mine life.
The company anticipates that Enterprise’s high-grade concentrate will be suitable to feed into the battery metals supply chain. Dewatering and preliminary pre-strip works will commence at Enterprise in 2021, anticipating the company making a final decision to proceed with the project later this year.
Market cap: C$15.9 billion ($13.2 billion)
Teck Resources’ Carmen de Andacollo copper operation in central Chile. Credit: Teck Resources.
Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.B; NYSE: TECK) is focused on steelmaking coal, copper, zinc and energy and owns or has interests in 11 operating mines, a large metallurgical complex and several major development projects in the Americas.
It is the world’s second-largest seaborne exporter of steelmaking coal, with five operations in Western Canada. It is a significant copper producer in the Americas, with four operating mines in Canada, Chile and Peru and copper development projects in North and South America.
Teck is also one of the world’s largest producers of mined zinc, with two operating mines in the U.S. and Peru, and owns one of the world’s most significant fully integrated zinc and lead smelting and refining facilities in Canada.
In addition, the company has an interest in the Fort Hills oil sands mine in Alberta.
Its steelmaking coal operations include Cardinal River, Fording River, Greenhills, Line Creek and Elkview.
Its copper portfolio includes Highland Valley Copper, Antamina, Quebrada Blanca and Carmen de Andacollo. Its zinc assets are Red Dog and Trail and energy assets Fort Hills.
Last year, the Vancouver-headquartered company posted revenues of C$8.95 billion and cash flow from operations of C$1.56 billion. Adjusted EBITDA came in at C$2.57 billion, with adjusted profit attributable to shareholders of C$561 million.
Teck’s liquidity stood at C$6.5 billion as of February 17.
The company expects to produce 275,000 to 290,000 tonnes copper in 2021, 585,000 to 610,000 tonnes zinc, 300,000 to 310,000 tonnes refined zinc and 25.5 million to 26.5 million tonnes coking coal.
Kirkland Lake Gold
Market cap: C$14.09 billion ($11.68 billion)
Kirkland Lake Gold (TSX: KL; NYSE: KL) operates two of the highest-grade gold mines in the world, the Macassa mine in Ontario, Canada, and its Fosterville mine in the state of Victoria, Australia. It also produces gold at its Holt complex — a trio of mines (Holt, Taylor and Holloway) in Ontario.
In January 2020, the company completed the all-share acquisition of Detour Gold, adding Detour’s mine in northern Ontario to its portfolio of producing assets. The transaction added 14.8 million oz. gold in open pit reserves to its reserve base and exploration targets within its 1,040 sq. km land position in the Abitibi Greenstone belt.
All three of the company’s primary mines — Macassa, Fosterville and Detour — feature free-cash-flow generating operations, in-mine growth potential and regional exploration upside.
Kirkland Lake expects its Detour Lake open pit mine in northern Ontario to reach a gold output rate of 900,000 oz. a year by 2032, based on its latest life-of-mine plan for the asset.
Total gold production in 2020 was 1.37 million oz., with Fosterville besting its 2020 production guidance of 590,000 to 610,000 oz., while output from both Detour Lake and Macassa came in slightly below their respective forecasts for 520,000 to 540,000 oz. and 210,000 to 220,000 ounces.
The company also forecasts average gold production of 680,000 to 720,000 oz. a year between 2021 and 2024, increasing to 800,000 oz. in 2025.
Kirkland Lake also entered a strategic partnership with Orefinders Resources (ORX: TSXV) and Mistango River Resources (CSE: MIS), allowing the two Canadian juniors to unlock their full potential exploration-stage assets.
Under earn-in option agreements, Kirkland Lake Gold will have the option to acquire up to an undivided 50% interest in Orefinder’s Mirado, McGarry, and Knight and Mistango’s Kirkland West and Omega projects over five years, and is contingent on Kirkland Lake spending a total of $20 million in the ground. During this period, Orefinders and Mistango will continue to operate their respective projects.
Market cap: C$12.38 billion ($ 8.87 billion)
Kinross’ Minas Gerais gold mine. Credit: Kinross Gold.
Kinross Gold’s (TSX: K; NYSE: KGC) mines in the Americas, Russia and West Africa delivered 2.37 million gold-equivalent oz. at a production cost of sales of $723 per gold-equivalent oz. last year, generating over $1.2 billion in adjusted operating cash flow. It ended 2020 with total liquidity of more than $2.8 billion.
The company has mines in the Americas: Fort Knox (U.S.); Round Mountain (U.S.); Bald Mountain (U.S.); and Paracatu (Brazil). It has two operating mines in West Africa: Tasiast in Mauritania and Chirano in Ghana, and two mines in Russia: Kupol and Dvoinoye.
Its three largest mines – Paracatu (Brazil), Kupol (Russia) and Tasiast (Mauritania) — produced 62% of the company’s total ounces and were the lowest-cost mines in the portfolio in 2020.
Kinross also added last year 5.7 million oz. to its reserve estimates after depletion as a result of successful exploration and mine optimization programs. Kinross made good progress at its development projects, including Tasiast 24k and La Coipa, and added to its portfolio to acquire the Chulbatkan and Peak projects.
Construction at the Fort Knox Gilmore project was completed on time and under budget, and the company continued to advance Udinsk and Lobo-Marte.
Kinross expects production in 2021 of 2.4 million gold-equivalent oz., in line with 2020 production. In 2022 and 2023, annual production is expected to increase to about 2.7 million gold-equivalent oz. and 2.9 million gold-equivalent oz., respectively. Kinross expects to produce an average of 2.5 million oz. annually to 2029.
Market cap: C$10.61 billion ($8.8 billion)
Jumbo drill in a 10-metre high by 7.5-metre wide high grade stope at Kakula. Credit: Ivanhoe Mines.
Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN; US-OTC: IVPAF) has a portfolio of Tier 1 copper, zinc and platinum group metals projects in sub-Saharan Africa.
Most recently, on May 26 and months ahead of schedule, it began producing copper concentrate at its Kamoa-Kakula project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as the metal continues to trade close to all-time highs. It was the biggest new mine to do so since Escondida in Chile in November 1990.
The Kamoa-Kakula project is independently ranked as the world’s fourth-largest copper deposit by international mining consultant Wood Mackenzie. Kamoa-Kakula is a strategic partnership between Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), Zijin Mining Group (39.6%), Crystal River Global Limited (0.8%) and the DRC government (20%).
Kamoa-Kakula is being developed in five phases of 3.8 million tonnes (phase two has been brought forward to the third quarter of 2022) for a total ore processing capacity of 19 million tonnes per year.
Grade at Kamoa-Kakula declines steadily over the five phases as per the preliminary economic assessment, averaging between 3%-4% during the second half of its 47-year mine life. Still, even then, Kamoa-Kakula would be by far the richest copper mine of any size on the planet.
Ivanhoe’s DRC exploration group targets Kamoa-Kakula-style copper mineralization through a regional exploration and drilling program on its 90%- and 100%-owned Western Foreland exploration licences, close to the Kamoa-Kakula project, which appear to host even higher copper grades.
The Kipushi zinc-copper-germanium-silver mine, also in the DRC, is based on the high-grade, underground zinc-copper mine in the Central African Copperbelt, which mined about 60 million tonnes grading 11% zinc and 7% copper between 1924 and 1993.
On July 30, 2018, Ivanhoe announced a new resource estimate for Kipushi that increased zinc-rich measured and indicated resources by 16%, from 10.2 million tonnes to 11.8 million tonnes.
Kamoa-Kakula’s Phase 1, 3.8-Mtpa concentrator and foundations for the Phase 2 concentrator. (Image courtesy of Ivanhoe Mines).
The new estimate also increased Kipushi’s zinc grade from 34.89% to 35.34%, in 40% more tonnes from 1.6 million tonnes to 2.3 million tonnes, with a slight increase in the copper grade from 4.01% to 4.03%.
The updated resource estimate will be used to underpin a definitive feasibility study for Kipushi, which will update and refine the findings of a preliminary feasibility study issued in December 2017.
In addition, Ivanhoe Mines indirectly owns 64% of the Platreef project through its subsidiary, Ivanplats, and is directing all mine development work.
The Platreef 2020 feasibility study updated feasibility results announced in July 2017. The Platreef 2020 feasibility study evaluated the development of a 4.4 million tonne per annum underground mine with two concentrators built in modules of 2.2 million tonnes per year.
Platreef’s current indicated resources are 346 million tonnes grading 3.77 grams per tonne 3PE+gold (1.68 grams per tonne platinum, 1.70 grams per tonne palladium, 0.11 gram per tonne rhodium, 0.28 gram per tonne gold), 0.32% nickel and 0.16% copper at a 2.0 grams per tonne 3PE+gold cut-off grade. These resources contain an estimated 26.8 million oz. of palladium, 25.6 million oz. of platinum, 4.5 million oz. of gold, and 1.8 million oz. of rhodium, plus 4.1 billion lb. nickel and 2.1 billion lb. of copper, at a cut-off grade of 1 gram per tonne.
Market cap: C$10 billion ($8.3 billion)
Cameco’s McArthur River uranium mine in Saskatchewan, as seen in 2014. Credit: Cameco.
Cameco’s (TSX: CCO; NYSE: CCJ) operations and investments span the nuclear fuel cycle, from exploration to fuel manufacturing. The company is one of the world’s largest uranium producers with assets on three continents.
It sells uranium and fuel services to nuclear utilities in 12 countries, with sales commitments to supply about 113 million lb. U3O8 and over 53 million kilograms of UF6 conversion services.
Its uranium operations include Cigar Lake, McArthur River/Key Lake and Rabbit Lake in northern Saskatchewan; Inkai in Kazakhstan; and Smith Ranch-Highland in Wyoming and Crow Butte in Nebraska.
The company’s advanced projects include Millennium in northern Saskatchewan and Kintyre and Yeelirrie in Western Australia.
In its fuel services division, Cameco owns the Blind River refinery, the world’s largest uranium refinery; the Port Hope Conversion facility, one of only four commercial suppliers in the western world of uranium hexafluoride (UF6), which is exported to be enriched for use in light water reactors; and Cameco Fuel Manufacturing, the largest Canada-based supplier of components for CANDU reactors.
Last year, with many of its uranium mine operations on care and maintenance, it produced five million lb. U3O8 and generated C$57 million in cash from operations. The declining figures reflect continued market weakness, resulting in a net loss attributable to shareholders of C$53 million for the year.
Cameco’s ongoing market discipline and suspension of McArthur River/Key Lake has seen the removal of 18 billion lb. per year of U3O8 from the market.
Due to the uncertainty surrounding covid-19, the company said it would not be in a position to provide an outlook for 2021 until the rate at which it will be able to sustainably operate the Cigar Lake mine is known.
In February, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed Canada Revenue Agency’s request to appeal a June 2020 decision on a tax dispute involving the company, which Cameco said would “fully and finally” resolve the 2003, 2005 and 2006 tax years in its favour.
Market cap: C$9.48 billion ($7.86 billion)
The third-place photo shows a girl using a drilling simulator at Lundin Mining’s Zinkgruvan mine in Sweden. Credit: Lundin Mining.
Lundin Mining is a diversified base metals company. The company is engaged in mining, exploration and development of mineral properties, primarily in Chile, the United States, Portugal, Sweden and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its business segments include Candeleria, Chapada, Eagle, Neves-Corvo, Zinkgruvan, and Tenke Fungurume, among others.
The company’s geographical segments include Europe, Asia, South America and North America, where it is engaged in producing copper, nickel and zinc. Its operating assets include the Eagle mine located in the United States, the Neves-Corvo mine located in Portugal and the Zinkgruvan mine located in Sweden. It also owns the Candelaria and Ojos del Salado mining complex (Candelaria) located in Chile. It is engaged in drilling on the Elida porphyry project.
The company said that despite pandemic-related hiccups, it is on track to achieve its 2021 production goal of 380,000 to 420,000 oz. of gold.
Lundin recently increased Fruta del Norte’s reserves by 8% to 5.41 million ounces, due to changes in the planned mining method. Based on the new figures, it now expects to produce almost 4.8 million ounces of gold at Fruta del Norte over a 14-year mine life.
(This article first appeared in The Northern Miner)