Truck travelling down ice road in the Northwest Territories

The Good of Mining: Northern and Indigenous Business Opportunities

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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.

The scope of mining and exploration projects is staggering.

From the first strike of a pick hammer, to the construction of a commercial mine; and to the ongoing maintenance of a safe and vibrant operating environment — an incredible amount of goods and services are needed to ensure a successful mining operation.

What does this mean for the Northwest Territories?  With NWT mines, come NWT business opportunities.

Targeting Local Benefits

In the Northwest Territories, the Government of the Northwest Territories takes a lead role in making sure companies fill their procurement needs in the North.

Through Socio-Economic Agreements — negotiated and signed with the territorial government, mining companies agree to targets for the local procurement of goods and services, employment and other measures that accrue benefits to NWT residents.  

Northern Procurement

NWT diamond mines have been willing and cooperative partners in this approach.  You can see it in the numbers.

  • $835 million: the total spent by diamond mines on northern business in 2017.
  • $14.587 billion: the total spent by diamond mines on northern business since diamonds became part of our economy.
  • 70%: the proportion of procurement by NWT diamond mines which was spent with local companies.

Indigenous Business Opportunities

The impacts have been significant – especially for Indigenous-owned businesses:

  • $6.452 billion: the total spent by diamond mines on northern Indigenous businesses since 1996.
  • $324 million: the total spent by diamond mines on northern Indigenous businesses in 2017 alone
  • 31%: the proportion of procurement by NWT’s diamond mines spent specifically with northern Indigenous businesses.

Thanks, in large part, to the mining industry’s commitment to northern procurement, Indigenous companies are on the rise and play a pivotal role in almost every area of businesses and industry – providing significant opportunities for investment - and driving the development of a skilled and vibrant northern workforce.

The success of these companies is empowering and shaping Indigenous governments and communities.  And, from them has evolved a robust indigenous service sector of construction, logistics and transportation services; staffed by a local workforce that help to keep the mines humming.

Bringing it Home

For NWT, it means trucks on-the-road, contractors swinging hammers, cooks staffing camp kitchens and more — all in a jurisdiction where there would otherwise be nothing.  Most importantly, it means good jobs for northerners raising families, purchasing homes and building good lives here in the NWT.