Newfoundland Economy



Since its first settlement, Newfoundland & Labrador has been highly dependent on its resource sector. The province was initially settled because of its rich fishing grounds on the Grand Banks. The mainstay of the province's fishing industry has been groundfish (primarily cod); however, other important catches are flounder, redfish, capelin, shrimp and crab. In 1977, the Canadian government extended its fishery jurisdiction to 200 miles off the coast, but in 1989 scientific studies revealed the Atlantic's cod stocks were in severe decline, causing a fishing moratorium in certain species.

Ocean-going Boats in St John's HarbourThe second prominent industry of the provincial economy is mining & petroleum. The mining industry is worth $700 million a year, mostly iron ore from Labrador, but also gold, asbestos, limestone and gypsum. In 1994, a major discovery of nickel, copper and cobalt was made at Voisey Bay and is now beginning development. The 1979 discovery of offshore oil and gas reserves at Hibernia has added a new dimension to the marine resources of the province, with reserves are estimated at 615 million barrels. Recently completed, Hibernia was the largest construction project in North America, and the field is just beginning production.

About half of the province's manufacturing gross domestic product comes from other resource- and non-resource-based manufacturing. The newsprint industry is significant with three pulp and paper mills located in Corner Brook, Grand Falls and Stephenville, which have been rationalized and modernized in the past decade. Numerous companies are engaged in the manufacture of items such as boats, lumber, chemical and oil-based products, food and beverages, clothing and footwear. In total, the province shipped about $1.4 billion in manufactured products in 1992.

The province's largest utility industry is electric power. The largest hydroelectric facility is located in Churchill Falls, Labrador, with a total installed capacity of 5403 megawatts. Much of this power is exported to the US via Quebec.

In recent years, Newfoundland's efforts to develop a solid tourism industry have intensified. The province's rich cultural and historical heritage and unique character are considered to be major selling features to other Canadians and travellers from around the world. It is estimated that between 265,000 and 300,000 people visit the province each year, spending an estimated $400 million annually.

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