Nunavut record mineral production value surpasses NWT for first time

29 July 2021

(Yellowknife, NT – July 29, 2021) For the first time ever, the value of mineral production in Nunavut is projected to surpass that of the Northwest Territories. The growth in Nunavut is due largely to contributions of a new gold mine, combined with stronger prices and production for iron and gold. In the NWT, significant production declines in 2020 were due to COVID-19 related weakness in global diamond sales, including the short-term closure of one diamond mine, combined with no new mines coming online.

Natural Resources Canada estimates 2020 mineral production at:

  • $2.07 billion for Nunavut, an increase of $438 million (27%) over 2019, building on an increase of 57% ($595 million) in 2018
  • $1.15 billion for Northwest Territories, a decline of $376 million (25%) from 2019, after experiencing a decline of $515 million from $2.042 billion in 2018.

“In NWT and Nunavut, we are seeing opposing multi-year trends,” said Ken Armstrong, NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines president. “Nunavut is on a strong growth track, and with the Back River project advancing in the wings and with territorial support for Mary River mine expansion, one can expect to see continued growth. Unfortunately, in the NWT, we are seeing the pattern of decline that economists have been predicting as a result of maturing mines combined with no new mineral production coming on stream. We very much look forward to seeing the Prairie Creek, Nechalacho, Pine Point and NICO deposits advancing to production to help mitigate some of the losses,” he added.

The NWT has three producing diamond mines: Ekati, Diavik and Gahcho Kué. Nunavut has three gold mines, Meadowbank-Amaruq, Hope Bay, and Meliadine, and one iron ore mine, Mary River. Meliadine achieved commercial production in May 2019, and the new Amaruq deposit began contributing ore to the Meadowbank mine later in the year. No new mines began operating in the NWT during this period.

Combined, the two territories’ 2020 total value of mineral production is expected to be $3.2 billion, relatively unchanged from 2019. Nationally, NRCan projects the value of Canadian mineral production for 2020 to be $43.9 billion, down $3.8 billion (8%) from $47.7 billion 2019.

Click link to see release with charts of NWT and Nunavut data. Visit Natural Resources Canada’s site here for source statistics.

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: