Carving out an Industry for Artists in Nunavut - CanNor helping to develop carving stone quarries on Inuit-owned land

IQALUIT, Dec. 1, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for CanNor announced an investment of just over $57,000 into the development of three carving stone quarries on Inuit-owned land on Baffin Island and Sanikiluaq, Nunavut.

Carving stone is a valuable resource for the North worth over $1 million a year. Once shaped into carvings by local artists, their creations generate approximately $15 million in sales which help support artists and their families. With the funding, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association will conduct geological research, confirming the carving stone potential of three sites to create a long-term supply of stone. The Association will also hold consultations in the communities of Cape Dorset, Kimmirut, and Sanikiluaq for the development of quarry management plans.


"Northern cultural industries are a cornerstone of Nunavut's economy. Through this research and by working with communities, artists in Nunavut will have the materials they need to work and produce their world famous carvings and provide income for their families."

Navdeep Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and
Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

"QIA has carried out research which is essential to the creation of a unified management program for community quarries across the Qikiqtani region. This program is designed to provide Inuit with a long term and efficient access to carving stone, while prioritizing safety. The maintenance and development of existing quarries will bring further financial benefit to Inuit within the carving sector and ensure the long term future of an important and widely practiced cultural activity."

P.J. Akeeagook
President of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association

Quick Facts  

  • In addition to CanNor's investment of $57,337, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association is contributing $14,334 for a total investment of $71,671.
  • This project builds on a 2014 CanNor partnership investment in geoscience research. That research resulted in detailed mapping that included an assessment of the potential of carving stone deposits.
  • The Nunavut arts and crafts sector is worth approximately $30 million annually, half of which is attributed to the mining, carving, and sales of carving stones.

Associated Links  

Projects will Advance Geoscience Knowledge in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories

For more information about CanNor, visit


SOURCE Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor)

For further information: Office of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, 343-291-2500; Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Craig Welsh, Communications Advisor, Nunavut Region, 867-975-3722; Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Sima Sahar Zerehi, Director of Communications, 867-975-8413


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