Canadian merger and acquisition activity remained robust in the third quarter (Q3), according to figures released Thursday by Toronto-based Crosbie & Co.

There were 716 M&A deals announced in Q3, worth a combined $63 billion, which is little changed from the prior quarter’s 724 deals for $64 billion.

The number of deals is up from 2016, Crosbie notes, but the total value of transactions is down. There have been 2,211 deals valued at $207 billion, so far this year. In contrast, there were 1,992 deals in the first nine months of 2016, valued at $281 billion.

“The number of transactions often says more than the aggregate value about M&A markets and the increased number so far this year reflects very positive market conditions for M&A,” says Ian Macdonell, managing director at Crosbie, in a statement. “However, the block buster deals tend to be quite lumpy and we have seen less of them so far this year.”

There were nine so-called mega-deals (transactions worth in excess of $1 billion) in Q3 2017, Crosbie reports. The total value of those deals was $41 billion, up slightly from 12 deals valued at $39 billion in Q2. However, this was down sharply from the 16 mega-deals valued at $115 billion recorded in Q3 2016.

By sector, the metals and mining space was the busiest in Q3, Crosbie notes, with 126 announced transactions, worth a total value of $107 million. The precious metals sector ranked second, with 87 transactions worth a total value of $1.5 billion.

“The recovery in metal prices has led to a significant increase in the number of announced transactions in the mining space over the last three quarters although most of deals have been quite small,” adds Macdonell. “We expect to see a continued consolidation of junior mining companies to create platforms for growth through the next cycle”.

The financial services sector saw a jump in deal activity in Q3, headlined by CI Financial Corp.’s $760 million acquisition of Sentry Investments. Overall, deal activity in the sector increased by 56% from the prior quarter to 50 transactions worth at total value of $1.9 billion.