Natural Resources in Manitoba

Manitoba’s natural resources include agricultural land, minerals, hydroelectricity, fish and wildlife.

Wheat Field

Manitoba has diverse environments that contain a variety of habitats. The Canadian Shield covers much of the northern part of the province, with many lakes, forests, bogs and wetlands. The southwest contains mostly agricultural land used for raising cattle and crops. Manitoba’s largest crops are wheat, canola and soybeans.

The province has mixed geological resources, including a variety of metallic minerals (e.g., nickel, copper, lead, zinc and precious metals). Manitoba’s current production of oil is small.

The fish stocks of the province’s lakes are significant resources, but water pollution and habitat destruction have led to the decline of lake sturgeon (see also Endangered Animals).

Indigenous people in Manitoba continue to fish, hunt and trap. Southern communities, such as the Swan Lake First Nation, have also added farming to their economies. Indigenous tourism initiatives operate across the province. Small fur-bearers like wolves, foxes and marten supply Canada’s fur industry. Indigenous trappers, in particular, contribute to this fur supply.

The marten is an acrobatic weasel, spending much of its time in trees.

Manitoba has developed hydroelectric generating stations on the Nelson River. This has created opportunities and challenges for northern Manitoba communities, including First Nations.

Did you know?
In 1970, Manitoba Hydro flooded the traditional lands of the Fox Lake Cree Nation at the Kettle Generating Station near the town of Gillam without consulting the community. Community members and scholars have argued that in Fox Lake, as well as in the Chemawawin Cree Nation, dam projects hurt social cohesion, disrupted traditional economies and flooded burial grounds. In the case of Chemawawin, the community had to relocate entirely.