Mining Production Declines
- In 2000, the value of New Brunswick mining production declined 6.8% to $791 million. Although zinc and copper prices were higher, the value of production for the metals sector showed a decline (-12.2%) with the closure of the Heath Steele mine. Production at the Brunswick base metals mine was slightly higher at 9,500 tonnes per day. The mine has about eight years of reserves at the present rate of extraction. Metals account for 66% of the total value of production.
- The value of production in the non-metals sector was up 9.6%. The sector includes peat (+15.9%), potash and salt. Annual capacity at the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan mine near Sussex includes 785,000 tonnes of potash ore and 650,500 tonnes of rock salt. Non-metals represent 26% of total production. Structural materials and coal contribute the remainder.
- The mining, quarrying and oil wells industry represents over 2% of provincial GDP.
- Exploration expenditures in northern New Brunswick were $8.2 million in 2000, up from $7 million last year, and focused on iron, zinc, lead and copper. In southern New Brunswick the focus was on other minerals including platinum-palladium, nickel-cobalt-copper, gold, antimony and base metal sulphide.
- In 2000, a significant gas discovery was made northeast of Sussex and the extent of the reserves will be determined with additional drilling. Another development in the Moncton area involves testing wells for the commercial production of crude oil.
- In order to address the challenges confronting New Brunswick’s mining industry, a study containing 27 recommendations for revitalizing the industry was released.