MINING INDUSTRY TO DRIVE GROWTH IN CANADA'S TERRITORIES

OTTAWA, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - The booming Northern mining industry will power economic growth in all three Canadian territories this year, according to The Conference Board of Canada's Territorial Outlook-February 2011.

"Thanks to growing demand for raw materials, the territories have forged ahead and managed to avoid the difficulties marking most provincial economies," said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director. "The mining industry in each of the territories is expected to post double-digit growth this year."

A recovery in global demand for diamonds was instrumental to the Northwest Territories' (N.W.T.) rebound in 2010 and will continue to drive economic growth this year. Real gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to increase by 5.6 per cent in 2011. However, N.W.T.'s economy is expected to contract in 2012, due mainly to the completion of open-pit mining at Diavik. As the mine transitions into an entirely underground operation, output in non-metal mining and sectors that rely on the diamond industry are expected to decline in 2012. With building activity at the Diavik and Snap Lake mines ending in 2010 and public infrastructure spending expected to ease, output in the construction sector is not expected to grow over the next two years.

Yukon is displaying resilience to global economic fluctuations. With three hard rock mines in operation, the mining industry is expected to expand by 26.4 per cent over the next two years. The Mayo B hydro expansion will provide a boost to the construction sector in 2011. Improved employment prospects will support growth in the wholesale and retail sectors. Overall, real GDP in Yukon is forecast to grow 3.9 per cent in 2011, with similar growth expected in 2012.

The opening of the Medowbank gold mine helped Nunavut's economy bounce back in 2010. Production at the mine is set to increase to 400,000 ounces this year, resulting in a 24.4 per cent increase in metal mining output. Nunavut's booming mining industry will boost real GDP by 3.3 per cent in 2011, despite the moderate growth of 1.9 per cent forecast for the public sector, which makes up over 40 per cent of the economy. Economic growth is expected to ease starting in 2012, until the construction of the Meliadine West mine gets underway in 2014.

This forecast is produced as part of the Conference Board's Centre for the North. Its main purpose is to work with Aboriginal leaders, businesses, governments, communities, educational institutions, and other organizations to provide insights into how sustainable prosperity can be achieved in the North. Over its five-year mandate, the Centre for the North will define strategies, policies and practices needed to transform that vision into reality.


SOURCE CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA

For further information:

Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448
E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca

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