Copper is a soft and malleable metal that is used in:

  • electrical wires and cables for its conductivity
  • plumbing, industrial machinery and construction materials for its durability, machinability, corrosion resistance and ability to be cast with high precision
  • many emerging and clean technologies, such as solar cells and electric vehicles

 Key facts

  • In 2017, Canadian mines produced 604,481 tonnes of copper in concentrate, with almost half originating from mines in British Columbia
  • Canada was estimated to have 11 million tonnes of copper reserves, or roughly 1.4% of the world total, in 2017
  • More than 90% of Canada’s refined copper exports were destined for the United States, while Canada sourced more than 75% of its copper-bearing raw material imports (concentrates, residues, waste and scrap) from the United States in 2017

In 2017, Canadian mines produced 604,481 tonnes of copper in concentrate, a 14% decrease from 2016, attributed to lower production levels in British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and Yukon.

Find out more about copper production in Canada:

Canadian mine production of copper, by province and territory, 2017 (p)

Ranking Province Thousand tonnes Percentage
1 British Columbia 298.8 49.4%
2 Ontario 172.4 28.5%
3 Newfoundland and Labrador 39.2 6.5%
4 Manitoba 39.1 6.5%
5 Quebec 38.6 6.4%
6 Yukon 16.3 2.7%
Total 604.4 100.0%

World mine production of copper, by country, 2017

Ranking Country Thousand tonnes Percentage
1 Chile 5,503.5 27.5%
2 Peru 2,445.6 12.2%
3 China 1,706.4 8.5%
4 United States 1,285.2 6.4%
5 Congo, D.R. 999.2 5.0%
6 Australia 867.1 4.3%
7 Zambia 785.2 3.9%
8 Mexico 767.5 3.8%
9 Russia 690.6 3.5%
10 Indonesia 637.9 3.2%
11 Kazakhstan 630.9 3.2%
12 Canada 604.5 3.0%
Other countries 3,059.1 15.3%
Total 19,982.7 100.0%

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Source: Natural Resources Canada
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