The Good of Mining: Jobs and Training

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(Photo credit: Bill Braden Photo) 

It's Mining Week in the NWT!  ”The Good of Mining” is a series highlighting the important relationship that NWT residents have with the NWT’s mining sector.

You have no-doubt heard that mining is the NWT’s number one private industry contributor to the economy.

But what does that actually mean for people who live here? And how does the nearly $1 billion, (and sometime even more), in economic activity generated by mining benefit the NWT?  The first, and perhaps most obvious answer, is: jobs and training for NWT residents.


Our mines employ a lot of people. 

And while there are workers who fly in and out of our territory, many jobs are filled by NWT residents. These mining jobs pay well — and give hundreds of NWT families access to good-paying middle-class incomes.

To ensure, residents are benefitting from mineral development in their territory, the GNWT requires the proponents of all major projects to sign Socio Economic Agreements.  They include employment targets for companies mining in the NWT. 

It has meant:

  • 1,592: Direct Northern jobs provided by the NWT’s operating mines with Socio-Economic Agreements in 2017.
  • 819: Direct Northern Indigenous jobs generated across the operating mines.
  • 27,000: Person-years of local employment provided by the operating diamond mines since 1996 — the year the first Socio-Economic Agreement was signed with Ekati Diamond Mine.

Indirect Jobs

In addition to those employed by NWT mines directly, countless other NWT residents work for companies or organizations that exist because of mining activity. 

In 2017, the transportation sector contributed about 1300 jobs to the NWT economy - and the construction sector contributed a further 1400. While it is difficult to know exactly how many indirect jobs exist specifically because of mining, we know that from transportation to construction, to grocery stores, hotels - and even government, numerous jobs are filled by NWT residents working to service the local presence, need and consumption of our mining sector. 

Consider, how many of your friends or family are employed by the mines, and what they buy from restaurants, grocery stores, gift shops and so on.  All of the folks employed to provide those goods and services are also indirectly benefiting from mining in the NWT.


The mining industry has also spurred a great deal of training opportunities for NWT residents. In many cases, these opportunities help workers develop skills relevant far beyond the mine site.  Through joint investments from the GNWT, federal government, and the mining industry, training programs are available for those looking to break into the industry.

Examples include the prospecting, geoscience field assistant, and surface mining courses sponsored in-part by the GNWT, and offered through the NWT Mine Training Society.

Since its inception, the Society has worked with government and NWT mines to help 1,460 NWT residents find employment in the NWT mining industry – that’s 7% of the entire NWT working labour force.

Since its inception, the NWT Mine Training Society has worked with government and NWT mines to help 1,460 NWT residents find employment in the NWT mining industry – that’s 7% of the entire NWT working labour force.

One NWT Resident’s Mining Training Story

NWT mining companies offer their own on-the-job and corporate training. Mentorships, apprenticeships and educational leave are available to most NWT employees Indigenous and NWT-owned corporations are also investing in their people with leadership programming to help them move from the mine site to the boardroom when they are ready.

For the North’s youth, in particular, the mining industry has created opportunities and facilities to pursue apprenticeships and trades.  Case-in-point: the new Heavy Equipment Training Centre at Aurora College’s Thebacha campus in Fort Smith funded jointly by the college, territorial and federal governments – and, of course, the mining industry.

Meanwhile, with the potential for real employment and careers, many NWT residents are seeing a tangible reason to stay in school and seek higher learning. They are going to University in the South and coming home schooled in mining related fields like engineering and geosciences.

For all residents, mining offers the opportunity to embrace the wage economy – buy homes, start families and begin investing in their future.