Our Industry

The north is one of the largest untapped mining areas in the world. Since the first mine went into operation in the early 1930s, mining has been the economic backbone of the NWT & Nunavut providing significant training, employment and business opportunities and contributing infrastructure to each territory.

We have a strong history of mining in our two northern territories, and each decade since commercial mining began in the 1930s has seen new mines opening: 

  • 1930s - Eldorado (uranium), Con, Negus, Rycon (gold)
  • 1940s - Giant, Thompson-Lundmark (gold) 
  • 1950s - Rankin (nickel), Discovery (gold) 
  • 1960s - Pine Point (zinc-lead), Cantung (tungsten) 
  • 1970s - Nanisivik (zinc)
  • 1980s - Polaris (zinc-lead), Lupin, Cullaton Lake (gold) 
  • 1990s - Colomac (gold), Ekati (diamonds) 
  • 2000s - Diavik, Snap Lake, Jericho (diamonds)
  • 2010s - Meadowbank (gold), Mary River (iron) 

Currently (2016) there are 4 mines operating in the NWT and Nunavut. In the NWT, we have the Ekati and Diavik diamond mines, and in Nunavut we have the Meadowbank gold mine and the Mary River iron mine. In the NWT, a diamond new mine, Gahcho Kué, officially opened in fall 2016 and is advancing to commercial production status. In Nunavut, the Hope Bay gold mine poured its first gold in February 2017, as it advances to commercial production. 

Collectively, these mines are making mining the largest private sector contributors to each territory’s economies