Canada’s resource development woes continue

This post includes some additional information related to our February 28 news release – “Major projects, major stalls.”

In June 2019, released a list of 24 major natural resource projects that stalled or were outright cancelled in Canada between (March 2014 – March 2019). For each of the projects on the list, government policies were a contributing factor to the cancellation or delay.

The total bill for the projects in question came to approximately $196 billion. For perspective, that was nearly the equivalent of building an NHL-sized arena every single day for a year.

Following the recent decision by Teck to cancel its Frontier oilsands mine, we decided to update our list. Key changes and notes since our release last year include the following:

  • Alton Natural Gas Storage (NS) – project appears to be proceeding ($0.13 billion)
  • New Prosperity Mine (BC) – looks like it may proceed as geotechnical work has begun ($1.5 billion)
  • Star Diamond Mine (SK) – proceeded following our study period ($1.4 billion)
  • Teck Frontier oilsands mine – cancelled ($20.6 billion)
  • Trans Mountain pipeline – although the project is proceeding, it remains on our list as it is now a government initiative and costs have ballooned

Our new total for stalled or cancelled projects is approximately $213.44 billion. For perspective, the estimate for the new NHL arena proceeding in Calgary is $0.55 billion. Thus, Canada’s missed opportunity since 2014 is now more than the equivalent of building an NHL-sized arena every single day for a year.

Finally, we would note that our estimate is a low-balled figure for a few reasons. First, we were not able to find cost estimates for two of the projects on our list. Second, as we discuss in our 2019 report, companies often don’t publicize projects they consider, but ultimately walk away from.

To see our original list, and sources, click here.


Cost (Billion $)

Ajax Copper Mine (BC)


Aspen Oil Sands Project (AB)


Black Thor Project (ON)


Carmon Creek Oilsands (AB)


Coffee Gold Project (YT)


Dunkirk SAGD (AB)


Eagle’s Nest Project (ON)


Energy East Pipeline (AB-NB)


Frederick Brook Shale (NB)


Grassy Point LNG (BC)


Green Point – Shoal Point Energy (NL)


Joslyn Oil Sands Project (AB)


Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Project (NT)


Matoush Uranium Project (QC)


Muskwa SAGD Project (AB)


Northern Gateway Pipeline (BC-AB)


Pacific Northwest LNG (BC)


Prince Rupert LNG Aurora – Nexen (BC)


Steelhead LNG (BC)


Teck Frontier Oilsands Mine


Trans-Mountain Pipeline Expansion (BC-AB)






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