Conference Board launches Northern Outlook: Canada's territories poised for
growth in 2010

OTTAWA, Jan. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - The downturn in commodity prices led to a considerable economic decline in the Northwest Territories in 2009, and Nunavut's real GDP was pulled down by the winding down of construction for the Meadowbank gold mine. However, all three territories are expected to post economic growth this year, according to the new Northern Outlook, published by the Conference Board's Centre for the North.

The Northern Outlook report, a 10-year economic forecast which will be published biannually, is just one of the initiatives spearheaded by the Centre for the North. The Conference Board used its experience forecasting national and provincial economies to develop a new Territorial Forecasting Model for the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon. The report examines the economic and fiscal outlook for each of the territories, including output by industry, labour market conditions, and the demographic make-up of each territory.

"All three territories are expected to bounce back this year, as mining activity recovers in line with stronger commodity prices" said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director, Forecasting and Analysis.

The global economic downturn led to lower prices and less demand for jewellery-quality diamonds, prompting producers to scale back mining activities in the Northwest Territories. This resulted in the territory's economy contracting significantly last year. With diamond prices and sales on the rise again, due to increased demand primarily from India and other parts of Asia, the territory's GDP is expected to grow by 1.5 per cent in 2010.

Nunavut's economy will expand nearly 10 per cent this year, as the Agnico-Eagle's Meadowbank gold mine is expected to begin commercial production in the first quarter of 2010. Development of this mining project has been beneficial to Nunavut and will continue to benefit the economy as gold, machinery, equipment and workers are transported to and from the mining site.

Yukon's relatively stable service sector helped the territory avoid a recession last year. Growth is expected to accelerate to 4 per cent in 2010 as production begins at the Yukon Zinc Corporation's Wolverine mine. A number of government-funded projects, including major transportation infrastructure initiatives, the new Whitehorse Correction Centre, and an expansion at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport will also stimulate economic growth in the territory this year.

Over the next decade, mineral exploration will recover in Canada's territories in line with firmer global commodity prices. New mining projects will stimulate economic growth in all three territories over the next ten years.

This forecast is produced as part of the Conference Board's Centre for the North, a five-year, multimillion dollar program of consultation, research, and dialogue, designed to provide insights into how Canada can best address the challenges and opportunities in its Northern regions. The Centre intends to help leaders-Aboriginal communities, government, and private industry-achieve a shared vision of sustainable prosperity in the North.

SOURCE Conference Board of Canada

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


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