Yukon's Chamber of Mines 'cautiously optimistic' about territory's economic outlook

This news comes after a scathing 2016 forecast report, which said Yukon faced the "bleakest" economic outlook in Canada.

Approval of 3 large mines in the Yukon could bring large economic growth to the territory, says report

Construction of the Eagle Gold Mine north of Mayo, Yukon. The approval of three large mines in the Yukon could bring an economic boom to the territory, according to a report by the Conference Board of Canada. (Victoria Gold)

Yukon's economy is expected to boom over the next 15 years, according to the spring economic forecast for the territories by the Conference Board of Canada.

In the report, the not-for-profit research organization predicted that Yukon's GDP growth will reach 8.1 per cent this year, and steadily grow by an average of 6.9 percent until 2025.

This news comes after a scathing 2016 forecast report, which said Yukon faced the "bleakest" economic outlook in Canada.

The 2016 forecast predicted that the economy would drop by 7.7 per cent in 2017, and a further 3.1 per cent in 2018. According to the research organization, Yukon's 2017 economic growth remained stable.

The latest report heavily relies on three new mining projects — Eagle Gold, Goldcorp's Coffee project, and Casino Mine.

Victoria Gold's Eagle Gold Mine is currently being built just outside of Mayo and is expected to start production in 2019, while Coffee and Casino mines are currently being reviewed by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB).  

"We just don't know," said Samson Hartland, executive director Yukon Chamber of Mines, about when and if these mines will be approved.

The report said the development of these three mines will push the average annual growth of mining output by 17 per cent.

​"I think that's a fair assessment that we are cautiously optimistic," said Hartland.

"Boom times are coming if all these projects are able to see the light of day," said Marie-Christine Bernard, director of the provincial and territorial forecast service at the Conference Board of Canada.  

"It's going to be very, very good for the territory for a number of years." 

Low unemployment rate to continue

Bernard said that the Conference Board predicts unemployment will also stay low for the rest of the country as well over the next 10 years.

Yukon's unemployment rate was at 2.7 per cent as of March; the report said unemployment rate will remain low at about 4 per cent over the next 10 years.

All three mines will create more than 1,500 jobs when they are in full production, and most of them will be filled by people outside of the Yukon because of the low unemployment rate, according to the report.

The Casino mine project would be bigger than any existing mine in Yukon. The site is located about 400km northwest of Whitehorse. (CasinoMining.com)

"Mining companies preference is to bring workers, who live work and play here," said Hartland.

But there's a lack of affordable housing in the Whitehorse for workers who want to bring their families here, and that's a concern according to the chamber of mines. 

However, the report said these jobs created by the mines will bring "noticeable" impact on the service industry, followed by tourism.

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