Mountains graphic with white diamonds on itGeoscience and Exploration

Nunavut Mineral Exploration and Mining Overview 2019

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 8:40am to 9:00am Theatre One


M. Russer (Presenting)
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC)

In 2019, Nunavut saw the continued shift from primarily early exploration-stage to advanced-stage exploration and mine development projects. In addition to Baffinland’s Mary River iron mine, the territory currently has three operating gold mines: Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine, which commenced commercial production in May, and TMAC Resources’ Doris. With production from the third gold mine, Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank, ceasing in Q3 of 2019, the company is bringing the Whale Tail deposit at Amaruq into production later this year.

According to statistics released by Natural Resources Canada, spending intentions for mineral exploration and deposit appraisal have steadily declined over the last four years to $144 million in 2019, down from almost $150 million in 2018. This places Nunavut fifth in Canada for mineral exploration spending. As in previous years, exploration for gold accounts for the bulk of that total, with lesser amounts spent on base metals, diamonds, and iron. Major companies were expected to spend nearly twice as much on exploration and deposit appraisal as junior exploration companies in Nunavut. With Whale Tail (Agnico) and Madrid North Naartok East deposits (TMAC) approaching commercial production, Nunavut has also seen an increase in mine complex development and capital assets spending.

Significant advances were made at Sabina Gold and Silver Corp.’s Back River gold project with the construction of a winter ice road between the marine landing area and the Goose deposit, and with continued exploration and definition drilling programs following the 2018 discovery of the Nuvuyak zone as well as other encouraging results from Llama, Umwelt, and Goose Main deposits. TMAC’s Hope Bay gold project saw development and exploration activities, with underground definition and exploration drilling at Doris BTD zone and surface exploration drilling at Doris Valley to the north of the Doris deposit, and at the Boston and Madrid North deposits. The company is also planning to commence processing ore from its Madrid North Naartok East crown pillar in Q3 of 2019. Other active gold explorers in Nunavut this year included Nordgold (Pistol Bay), Canarc (Hard Cash), Auryn Resources (Committee Bay), Solstice Gold (Kahuna Gold), Blue Star Gold Corp. (Hood River), and Margaret Lake Diamonds (Kiyuk Lake).

Two companies were actively exploring for diamonds in Nunavut in 2019. De Beers Canada Inc. purchased Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. last year, acquiring the Chidliak diamond project and several other projects in Nunavut and Northwest Territories. The company plans to construct an innovative mine on the property with limited footprint, environmental impact and powered by clean energy. GGL Resources Corporation conducted a ground geophysical survey on the Stein property located on Boothia Peninsula, identifying a number of promising anomalies.

With the opening of new mines and continuous investment in early and advanced stage active exploration projects, Nunavut is continuing to prove its mineral potential.