For an island that’s commonly referred to as “The Rock” it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that mining has played an important if sporadic role in the economic, social, and cultural history of the eastern Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Mining is one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest and oldest industries, and a major contributor to the economy of the province, especially in rural areas. More than 15 mineral commodities have been produced or mined in the province.
Five metal mines currently produce iron ore, nickel, copper, cobalt and gold. Other operations mine pyrophyllite, limestone and dolomite, amongst other commodities. The province’s mining and mineral exploration companies directly provide high-paying jobs to more than 7,000 men and women.
Newfoundland’s mineral potential was acknowledged publicly way back in the 1830s and 1840s by Joseph Jukes who noted many of the island’s mineralogical and geological features in reports of his explorations. The first systematic attempt to map out the island’s mineral potential appeared in the Geography and Resources of Newfoundland that was published in 1877.
Both Canada and the United States were conducting similar surveys at the time as part of a worldwide trend. The huge iron ore deposits of Labrador and neighboring areas of Québec were discovered by the Canadian survey in 1892.
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