Mining and construction driving Nunavut’s economy: economic report – by David Murphy and Lisa Gregoire (Nunatsiaq News – July 22, 2015)

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Premier supports resource development for job creation

The Conference Board of Canada says Nunavut’s economy is in decent shape this year, and you can thank mining development and construction for that. The not-for-profit board projects Nunavut’s gross domestic product will grow 3.8 per cent in 2015.

That’s the highest rate of GDP growth amongst all territories and provinces, the Conference Board’s Summer 2015 Territorial Outlook said.

In comparison, the Northwest Territories GDP for 2015 is expected to decline by two per cent, and the Yukon’s GDP is expected to decline by 3.4 per cent.

“Led by the construction industry, Nunavut’s outlook is decidedly more promising this year than that of its two territorial counterparts,” the report said.

The independent board, which conducts evidence-based research on behalf of governments and the private sector, twice annually examines the economic and fiscal outlook for the three Canadian territories.

Construction on Baffinland’s Mary River iron mine as well as the $143-million Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS), and on Iqaluit’s $300-million airport resulted in a positive outlook for Nunavut.

As a result, construction output is also expecting to increase by 12 per cent.

But Nunavut’s GDP is expected to drop in 2016.

“Growth, however, will be negative next year, with GDP contracting by 0.7 per cent as construction ends on the $740-million early revenue phase of the Mary River project,” the report said.

And not until 2020 will GDP bounce back, when Rankin Inlet’s Meliadine mine starts producing gold, the report predicts.

This year, however, mining production is expected to grow with shipments of iron ore leaving Mary River’s port at Milne Inlet and gold production continuing at the Meadowbank mine near Baker Lake.

Nunavut’s mining output is expected to gain 7.2 per cent in 2015 and 2.6 per cent in 2016. By comparison, mining output grew by 9.9 per cent in 2014, the report said.

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