Benefits growing with Nunavut’s new mining industry

9 February 2018

As Nunavut’s mining industry grows, its mines are adding new significant employment and business benefits for the territory, its communities, and economy.
Alex Buchan, Nunavut Vice President of the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines presented an overview of Nunavut’s mining sector at the biannual Northern Lights conference in Ottawa on February 2. For the territorial economy, Nunavut mining’s direct contributions are very large, and in 2016 mining formed about 20% of our economy, he said. Mining’s contribution is even larger when you consider benefits to sectors like construction and transportation. This is a welcome turnaround from 2009, when Nunavut had no mining industry, added Buchan.
Three mines now operate in Nunavut, one in each region: Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank gold mine in Kivalliq, Baffinland’s Mary River iron mine in Qikiqtani, and TMAC’s Hope Bay gold mine in Kitikmeot, where Buchan is the Director of Community Relations.
Buchan shared new socio-economic data compiled by the Chamber of Mines, including:
• Since 2009, the mines have provided 2,365 person years of mining employment in Nunavut;
in 2016, there were 1,946 jobs of which 388 (20%) were Nunavut residents.
• Total mine spending since 2007 exceeds $4.8 billion of which $2.2 billion was in Nunavut. In
2016, mine spending was $582 million of which $252 million (43%) was in Nunavut.
Additionally, industry royalty and benefit agreement payments are another way in which Nunavummiut are benefitting from mining. Advancing opportunities at Meliadine, Back River, Amaruq, and Chidliak have potential to generate even more employment and business benefits and tax and royalty revenues to government and Inuit organizations.
In terms of challenges, Buchan underlined the need to address falling exploration investment, which industry members link to a troublesome land use planning process, and for much needed investments in infrastructure to help lower costs. He also emphasized that by improving training and education and growing the public’s awareness of mining opportunities will also be key to increasing Nunavut benefits.
Buchan closed by saying the Chamber of Mines will continue to work with the public governments of Nunavut and Canada, as well as with Nunavut’s Inuit government, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., to address these challenges and further grow the mineral industry’s benefits in Nunavut.
For the full powerpoint presentation, with speaking notes, click here.
For more information on the NWT and Nunavut mining industries, please visit the Chamber of Mines website at or contact Terry Dobbin, Nunavut General Manager at Tel: 867-222-5281 or email: