Newly elected NWT MLAs face a daunting economic picture

2 October 2019

(Yellowknife, NT – October 2, 2019) The results of the Northwest Territories Election yesterday have brought some interesting results, including:

  • Of the 19 positions, two thirds of the MLAs are new;
  • Nine of the MLAs are women, the largest cohort ever in the NWT’s history;
  • Only one previous Cabinet Minister was re-elected;
  • Three of the previous MLAs were acclaimed; and
  • Two seats in Yellowknife were close and require a recount of ballots.

The NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, on behalf of the minerals industry, looks forward to working with all members of the newly elected 19th Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

In leading up to the election, the Chamber of Mines provided a guide to candidates running in the election, and with the NWT Chamber of Commerce held public forums in Yellowknife to determine the positions of all candidates on economic development and the minerals industry. The record of the debates shows many are strongly supportive of the minerals industry.

The minerals industry is the largest private sector contributor to the economy, and with indirect benefits, contributes over 40% of the Gross Domestic Product. Annual diamond production exceeds $2 billion, which pays for thousands of jobs, and hundreds of millions annually in business spending and in various taxes and royalties. However, these benefits are at risk as current mines mature, and proposed new mines are insufficient to offset the loss. Additionally, annual exploration investment intended to sustain and grow mining continues to falter, now for 12 years, and has led to a weakening outlook for mining benefits. Economists with the Conference Board of Canada have made “grim” projections for the NWT.

The newly elected 19th Assembly is now faced with the impending economic decline, and with appropriate actions to strengthen mining and exploration and to diversity the economy, can hopefully turn this around. This can be bolstered with commitments by the Federal Government to invest in new road and power infrastructure to serve communities and the minerals industry. “We are hopeful the 19th Assembly will accept this challenge with gusto,” said Chamber President Gary Vivian. “Our Chamber of Mines looks forward to helping the newly elected Assembly in taking steps quickly to rejuvenate investment and reverse the expected decline in mineral production and its significant benefits to the NWT,” he added. 

The attached Backgrounder provides additional data.

For more information on the NWT and Nunavut mining industries, please visit the website at or contact Tom Hoefer, Executive Director at Tel: 867-873-5281 or email: