Mining boom to drive economic growth in Canadian North
By Chantal Mack
Canada’s North is poised to lead the country in economic growth over the next two years as a boom in mining projects takes hold, a new report predicts.
The economies of the three territories are expected to grow by more than seven per cent in both 2012 and 2013, says the Conference Board of Canada’s Territorial Outlook-Winter 2012, released Wednesday.
That easily surpasses the Canadian average of 2.1% this year.
“While the global economy is facing challenges that dampen the outlook for many Canadian industries and provinces, demand for metals and non-metals is expected to hold up,” said Marie-Christine Bernard, associate director of forecasting and analysis, in a statement accompanying the report.
“The immediate concern for mining industry development in Canada’s North is not so much finding a market, but rather finding the skilled workers to lead these projects forward.”
Last year was a strong year for the economies of the Yukon and Nunavut. The report says both are entering a period of sustained mining development, citing several large projects that have been proposed for the current decade.
The mining boom in the Yukon is expected to continue over the next 10 years. Real GDP for the territory is expected to grow by 2.9% this year. That follows an estimated gain of 8.6% in 2011. There will be a strong demand for workers in the Yukon, the report contends.
Nunavut’s economy grew by 6.8% in 2011 and the territorial economy is forecast to grow by 16% in 2012.
Employment is expected to surge by 6.4% annually over the next three years.
The Northwest Territories’ economy is expected to grow by 5.9% this year. Diamond mining, by far the territory’s largest industry, is expected to benefit from global demand that continues to surpass supply, the report said.