Excluding Yellowknife, the North Slave Region has 7% of the NWT’s population and 4% of the NWT’s income. All-weather road connections are limited north of Behchokò but there is an extensive ice road system supplying communities and mines in the region.
The North Slave Region has experienced significant growth over the last decade. The region’s largest community, Behchokò, is approaching 2,000 residents, making it the NWT’s fifth largest community. The Region’s Tlicho communities have successfully implemented self-government, while the Akaitcho communities are currently negotiating their own agreement.
The traditional economy remains strong with the NWT’s highest participation rates in hunting and harvesting. The Region is a major harvester of Canadian “sable” or martin.
A large number of residents work directly for the diamond mines, or with Aboriginal-owned companies supplying mining goods and services. A large number of contracting companies working on mine development are also Aboriginal-owned. Future development of new diamond mines and possible new gold properties will further expand employment and business opportunities.
Opportunities also exist to expand services in retail trade and tourism.
Yellowknife is the capital and only city in the Northwest Territories. In 2006 the city had 45% of the NWT’s total population. Yellowknife accounts for about 55% of territorial income, and has the same percentage of territorial businesses.
Yellowknife remains the primary administration, supply and transportation center for the North Slave Region. The city has the NWT’s largest airport, and is well situated to take advantage of polar routes.
The city is a large and diverse business community. Its financial institutions along with the health and education system provide services to a significant area of the NWT. The city is headquarters for the NWT’s three diamond mines, as well as a possible new gold mine in the North Slave region.
As North America’s Diamond Capital, Yellowknife also has a well-developed tourism industry. Efforts are now being made to link diamonds to tourism. The city is already a prime destination for aurora viewing.