Prime Minister Stephen Harper continued his six-day Northern Tour Monday by announcing federal funding for a new mining education and jobs program at Yukon College in Whitehorse.

Speaking at the local Quantum Machine Works factory, Harper announced $5.6 million in funding over four years to contribute to the construction of the Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining at Yukon College's Ayamdigut Campus in Whitehorse.

The centre will be a "one-stop state-of-the-art education, training and research facility for people looking to begin a career in the mining industry as well as for those who want to improve their skills," a government-issued press release outlining the funding reads.

Northern Tour continues

At the event on Monday the prime minister was joined by Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Bernard Valcourt, Senator Daniel Lang and Ryan Leef, Conservative MP for Yukon.

The centre is expected to create 40 construction jobs and generate up to 520 trades, mining and apprenticeship graduates over the next five years, the federal government said. Hundreds of other students are expected to take credit courses at the centre, the government said.

Yukon's mining industry is expected to need up to 1,700 new workers to meet its needs by 2022, the Prime Minister said in prepared remarks.

Harper is on his eighth annual Northern Tour. He will spend the next six days touring various communities, from Yukon to Northern Quebec. After events in Whitehorse are completed, he is expected to speak in Hay River, N.W.T. on Tuesday.