Nunavut’s mining revenues and production were up in 2019

Slight growth in iron ore and the addition of the Meliadine gold mine drove up numbers for the territory.

By Jane George, Nunatsiaq News - March 4, 2020
Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine gold mine near Rankin Inlet, the company’s largest gold deposit in Nunavut, began commercial production on May 14, 2019. That contributed to an increase in mining revenues and production in the territory in 2019, according to new statistics from Natural Resources Canada. (Nunatsiaq News file photo)

The value of Nunavut’s mineral production grew in 2019, driven by the addition of the Meliadine gold mine and a slight increase in iron ore production.

That’s according to the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines’ analysis of the latest Natural Resources Canada statistics.

These show gold production up by 43 percent and iron ore production up by more than 5 percent in Nunavut.

This production growth means an increase in revenues for Nunavut of almost 27 percent or roughly $279 million more than in 2018.

Overall, Natural Resources Canada estimates 2019 mineral production in Nunavut brought in gross revenues of $1.3 billion.

“For Nunavut, the biggest contributing commodity is gold, with ramp-up of the Meliadine mine during the year, combined with a steady to strengthening gold price,” Ken Armstrong, the president of the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines, said in a news release.

Nunavut’s operating mines are Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.’s Meadowbank-Amaruq and Meliadine, TMAC Resources Inc.’s Hope Bay complex and Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s Mary River.

Meliadine went into commercial production in May 2019, and the new Amaruq deposit began contributing ore to the Meadowbank mine later in the year.

Nunavut’s gold mines produced 1,125,504 ounces in 2019. Gold stood at US$1,595.20 per ounce on Monday, March 2.

In 2019, the revenues from Nunavut due to gold production rose to $851 million from $595 million.

The Nunavut gold mines also produced about three tonnes of silver, according to Natural Resources Canada.

Baffinland’s Mary River produced 5,205 kilotonnes of iron ore for total revenue of $463 million.

Combined, the 2019 total value of mineral production in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories is expected to be $3.1 billion, unchanged from 2018, the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines said.

Nationally, Natural Resources Canada projects the value of mineral production for 2019 to be $48 billion, down $1 billion, or 2 percent from 2018.