Mining Myths and Realities

Did You Know? The overall production value of the Canadian mining industry is about $42 billion per year!

Does the word "mining" conjure a mental image of hardworking men using picks and shovels in cramped, dim, and airless places underground? While that may have been true in the past, it is far from today's reality! Check out some of the popular mining myths below and discover the surprising realities of mining in Canada today.

MINING MYTH: All mining operations take place underground, in dark, cramped spaces.

REALITY: The mining cycle includes exploration, development, operations/processing, and mine closures / land reclamation. Therefore, most workers in the mining industry do not work underground.

MINING MYTH: Mining is a brute-force occupation that makes use of rudimentary tools.

REALITY: Mining is an exciting and ever-evolving field. Today's miners can drill 2400 feet through solid rock—that's almost twice the height of the CN Tower! They can also mine in space and on the ocean floor! Technology is advancing quickly—just take a look at what is being used in Canada's mining operations today:

  • Robotics
  • Three-dimensional computer programs (CAD Design)
  • Mining from remote locations, from the comfort of an office (Tele-mining)

MINING MYTH: The jobs in mining don't pay well.

REALITY: The mining industry offers very competitive salaries. In 2007, the average weekly earnings in the metal mining industry were $1200, which is 30%, 29%, 24%, and 22% higher than the salaries of workers in the construction, manufacturing, forestry, and finance/insurance sectors, respectively.

MINING MYTH: Mining is a dangerous occupation.

REALITY: The Canadian mining industry's safety record is solid. In fact, there is an entire set of safety laws just for the mining industry—19 federal acts and 14 federal regulations, combined with dozens more at the provincial and territorial level. The mining industry is now recognized as one of the safest industrial sectors.

MINING MYTH: Mining operations are not environmentally friendly.

REALITY: Canada's mining industry has a worldwide reputation for sustainable environmental practices, and in 2005, the Mining Association of Canada was recognized with the Globe Foundation's "Industry Association Award for Environmental Performance." This award recognizes associations whose industry improves environmental performance through research, development and education, beyond regulatory compliance.

MINING MYTH: Mining is an industry of the past.

REALITY: Canada's mining industry is a vital contributor to our economic prosperity. In 2007, the mining and mineral processing industries contributed nearly $42 billion to the Canadian economy! Furthermore, almost 80% of our minerals and metals are exported. In fact, for a nation reliant on trade, Canada needs mining! It accounts for 19% of our country's total exports.