Labrador's cold climate and lack of transportation facilities have combined to retard economic development. However, Labrador is rich in mineral resources (iron, zinc, copper, asbestos, gold, oil, natural gas, nickel, cobalt), timber, and water power. Exploitation of the tremendous iron reserves in the southwest, begun in the 1950s, and the growth of the logging industry have brought new towns and roads, and the province provides about half of Canada's iron ore. There is a giant hydroelectric project at Churchill Falls. Oil fields discovered off the Newfoundland coast began production in 1997, and the oil industry has since become a driving force in the provincial economy. Enormous nickel-copper-cobalt deposits at Voisey's Bay, in NE Labrador, began to be mined in 2005.
Flounder, redfish, herring, salmon, lobster, and crab are among catches in the coastal waters. The processing of fish and the manufacture of wood products are also important. There are large pulp and paper mills at Grand Falls and Corner Brook, both on Newfoundland. Agriculture in the province is limited by the unfavorable soil and climate, and much of the food supply must be imported.
Memorial Univ. of Newfoundland is at St. John's.