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Mining is the largest private sector employer in the North and the largest employer of Indigenous peoples. Employment is one of the biggest benefits mines create and mining jobs are among the highest paid in Canada. 2,150 northern residents currently work at the six mines operating in the NWT and Nunavut.

Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine, owned by De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds, employs nearly 500 northern residents. In 2017, its northern employment grew for the third straight year. Photo: De Beers

Northern residents, with a small population and limited mining-related skills, have captured one-third of this opportunity. This is significant, but the gap is an opportunity for companies, governments, communities, and northern residents to work together to increase local employment.

In the NWT, northern employment at the mines is 46% while in Nunavut it is 20%. Mining companies remain committed to employing and training local residents.

Since 1996, diamond mining in the NWT, and renewed mining in Nunavut since 2009, have created nearly 31,000 person years of employment. One person year equals one full time employee working a 12 hour shift for 14 days through 13 rotations at a mine site. This is called a ‘two and two’ rotation. Put another way, 31,000 person years of employment is the same as 1,000 people – each working for 31 years!