Canadian mine wages steady increase over five years

Canada’s mining industry has seen steady increases in wages over the past 5 years for energy fuel mines, metal mines, and industrial mineral mines.

These statistics are derived from five surveys conducted between 2016 and 2020 by the Costmine division of InfoMine USA, Inc, publisher of Mining Cost Service.

They found that, of Canada’s mining industry wage statistics, metal mining showed the highest average increase in wages, though metal mines lagged slightly behind on the pay scale. Industrial mineral mines showed the next highest increase in wages and coal mines pulled in third for the smallest increase.

The energy mines’ lead in wages resulted, in part, from generous compensation packages offered by northern Alberta’s oil sands industry. For example, base pay for a heavy equipment operator was reported as high as C$52.06 per hour in 2020.

Average benchmark hourly base wages for select job titles over the 5 year period are shown in the following tables for comparison purposes. Wages are reported in Canadian dollars.

Figure 1. Source: Costmine

Figure 1: Hourly base wages for selected positions in Canadian metal mines from 2016 to 2020.

Benefit packages at Canadian mines are often generous. In addition to the Canada Pension Plan or Quebec Pension Plan in Canada, Universal health care plans are also mandated.

Many mines turn to bonus plans to make up for lower wages. Most plans today offer bonuses based on formulas that include safety, productivity, environmental protection, and achieving individual or team goals. Some also include commodity prices in the factoring. These plans can easily increase a miners pay 10 to 15% or more.

Figure 2. Source: Costmine

Figure 2: Hourly base wages for selected positions in Canadian energy fuel mines from 2016 to 2020.

Metal mines are prime examples for supporting lower wages with bonus plans. In the 5 year period between 2016 and 2020, the number of bonus plans for surveyed metal mines ranged from 74% to 88% of metal mines.

Figure 3. Source: Costmine

Figure 3: Hourly base wages for selected positions in Canadian industrial mineral mines from 2016 to 2020.

Figure 4. Source: Costmine.

In comparison, only 27% of surveyed coal mines reported providing bonus plans in 2020; a number that has decreased from 44% in 2016 continues to fall far short of the reported number of metal mines providing bonuses. Industrial mineral mines fair a bit better than coal mines with 50% of mines reporting bonuses, but fewer of those mines are offering bonuses than in 2016.

Figure 4: Percent of surveyed mines offering bonuses from 2016 – 2020.

The full report, titled Canadian Mine Salaries, Wages and Benefits, is available at Costmine.