Nunavut's mining industry has hit a significant milestone — it's now projected to be worth more than the N.W.T.'s.
According to the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, there are opposing trends at work. Nunavut's mineral production has been expanding, while the N.W.T.'s has been shrinking.
"Nunavut is on a strong growth track," said Ken Armstrong, chamber president, in a statement.
"Unfortunately, in the N.W.T., we are seeing the pattern of decline that economists have been predicting."
Natural Resources Canada estimates Nunavut's 2020 mineral production to be about $2.07 billion, a 27 per cent increase over 2019. The territory saw an even bigger increase the year before.
Nunavut currently has three working gold mines, and an iron ore mine. The Meliadine gold mine began commercial production in 2019, and a new deposit began contributing ore to the Meadowbank mine later that year.
The chamber says Nunavut has benefited from stronger prices for iron and gold.
Meantime, N.W.T. has suffered from a slump in global diamond prices. The territory's estimated 2020 mineral production is a little more than half Nunavut's, at $1.15 billion, a 25 per cent decline from 2019. The territory saw an even bigger decline the year before.
The N.W.T. has three producing diamond mines and no new mines have gone into production since 2019.
Together, the two territories' mineral production for 2020 is expected to be about $3.2 billion, which is roughly the same as in 2019.
Nunavut is also bucking the national trend, as Canadian mineral production saw an overall decline in value of $47.7 billion in 2019 to $43.9 billion in 2020.