Ottawa, November 15, 2018—New developments in the mining sector are helping to make Yukon and Nunavut economic growth leaders over the next few years, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s latest Territorial Outlook. Meanwhile, challenging times are on the horizon for the Northwest Territories as it faces a maturing diamond industry.
“While the mining sector has been more cautious in this upswing cycle than in the past, there are still several mining projects that are advancing through the approval process and will bolster economic growth and employment opportunities in the northern territories over the next few years,” said Marie-Christine Bernard, Director, Provincial and Territorial Forecast, The Conference Board of Canada.
Fuelled by the construction and operation of new mines, economic growth in the territories as a whole is forecast to average 4.7 per cent in 2019 and 4.5 per cent in 2020—easily outpacing the forecast Canadian average of below 2 per cent growth.
- Between now and 2025, Nunavut’s economy will grow by an average of 4.6 per cent per year, higher than any other territory or province.
- Yukon’s economy will also experience a boom, with growth of 4.6 per cent this year and 6.2 per cent in 2019.
- The economy of the Northwest Territories is forecast to contract at an average annual pace of 1.6 per cent between now and 2025.
Yukon’s economy will grow faster than that of almost any other territory or province in Canada over the next few years, with gains of 4.6 per cent forecast for this year and 6.2 per cent in 2019. Yukon’s mining industry may be struggling today, but that will soon change. The territory’s single mine in operation now, will soon stop producing. However, two new mines—Victoria’s Eagle and Goldcorp’s Coffee—are set to open within the next five years. On top of that, the $2.5-billion Casino mine could be under construction by the middle of the next decade. Already lowest in the country, Yukon’s unemployment rate will continue to drop. For Yukoners, finding a job will become easier, but for businesses, it will become more and more difficult to fill open positions.
Nunavut’s economy will stay at or near the top of the growth charts for the next few years, posting average annual growth of 7.3 per cent from 2018 to 2020. Mining will be the main driver of growth, as Agnico Eagle prepares to bring its Meliadine mine and Amaruq satellite deposit into operation, and Sabina works on its Back River project. The territory’s gold production is expected to peak in 2024, after which the territorial economy will grow at a more moderate pace. In spite of anticipated job growth, the territory’s unemployment rate is expected to remain high, in part because some mining and construction workers are filled by southerners.
Unlike its neighbours, the Northwest Territories will have one of the weakest economic performance in the country. Now that the new Gahcho Kué diamond mine is in commercial production, diamond production in the territory has reached its peak and will decline over the next six years. Two new metal mines should help offset some of the losses for the mining sector, but not until after 2020. More tepid growth in mining will have repercussions on other areas of the economy, with growth in services-based industries remaining flat for much of the forecast. In all, economic growth in the Northwest Territories is forecast to contract by an average annual pace of 1.6 per cent between now and 2025.