Newfoundland & Labrador

Labrador, the northern region of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, has over 72% of the province's landmass. The region's small population of 27,000 represents only 5.3% of the provincial population and holds 52% of the province's Aboriginal population. Investments in mining, aviation and the fishery will continue to drive the economy although infrastructure investment is pivotal for the future growth of the mainly resource-based economy.

Key Industries


Labrador's iron ore accounted for an estimated 52% of the total value of mineral shipments for the province in 2006. Almost 20 million tonnes of iron ore product was shipped with an approximate industry value of $1.3 billion. Also in 2006, the Voisey’s Bay nickel, copper and cobalt mine in Labrador saw its first full year of production. The operation accounted for an estimated 46% of the total value of the province’s mineral shipments during the year. Dimension stone and silica quarries in the region have an annual production value of about $3.3 million.


The Churchill Falls hydroelectric facility is one of the largest remaining hydroelectric developments in North America with a 5,428-megawatt capacity and annual gross revenues of $100 million. The development of an additional 2824-megawatt generating station on the Lower Churchill River in Labrador is currently under study.


The military training program at 5 Wing Goose Bay is one of the largest economic generators in the Labrador region, contributing in the order of $90 million to the provincial gross domestic product and 1,600 person-years of employment in 2003-2004. Provincial revenues in the order of $36 million, along with federal revenues of close to $36 million, were also generated.


Once a predominantly strong cod fishery, the industry across coastal Labrador has diversified to shrimp, snow crab, char, Icelandic scallop, rock-cod, whelk, and turbot. Commercial fish landings in 2005 totaled just over 12,300 tonnes (preliminary) and were valued at about $18 million. Approximately 850 people were employed in fish processing and approximately 500 fishers in harvesting. Net fishing income for harvesters in 2005 was $11.2 million and processing plant income totaled about $4.0 million.


There are over 3.6 million hectares of forested area in Labrador. Commercial harvesting is the main activity with an annual allowable cut of up to 300,000 cubic metres. The industry contributes $4.1 million to the provincial gross domestic product, $4.6 million in indirect wages and salaries, and $5.1 million in logging shipments. Labrador's forest product has great potential pending increased road access to forest areas.

Labrador's Contribution to the Economy


  • $1.4 billion of exports from Labrador in 2006, close to 17% of the provincial total.
  • $53,308 of exports per Labradorian compared to $14,714 for the rest of the province.
Major Export Value
Iron Ore $1.4 billion
Electricity $121 million

Capital Investment of Major Projects in Labrador

  • $1.35 billion of investment in projects completed, under construction or starting in 2007, representing 18% of the provincial total.
  • $49,860 of investment per Labradorian compared to $12,866 for the rest of the province.

A Look to the Future

Going forward, the Province estimates that the iron ore and nickel mines will continue to employ an average of 2,650 people annually. The province also estimates that mineral exploration companies will spend approximately $80 million on new and ongoing nickel, iron ore and uranium exploration projects in Labrador in 2007.

The lower portion of Labrador's Churchill River in Labrador is recognized as a significant supply of renewable energy that has yet to be fully developed. In addition to the existing 5428 MW facility at Churchill Falls, there are two undeveloped sites further downstream. In the context of increasing demand for clean, reliable electricity supplies in the Northeast region of North America and federal climate change policy, development of Gull island (2000 MW) and Muskrat Falls (824 MW) projects (referred to as Lower Churchill) is in the provincial and national interests. The developments have the potential to provide significant economic and environmental benefits to the region.

Labrador's untapped beauty and rich culture continues to lure people to its land. Its burgeoning tourism industry continues to grow annually. The development of the Trans Labrador Trail has created a quality winter tourism product and the completion of Phase II of the Trans Labrador Highway has meant increased accessibility for visitors.