SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF GOLD MINING IN THE YELLOWKNIFE MINING DISTRICT

CIM Edmonton 2004
Malcolm Robb,
Abstract Gold mining in the Yellowknife area of the Northwest Territories started long before the concept of sustainability entered the academic literature and by the time the term enjoyed widespread public acceptance, the Yellowknife gold mining industry was in its sunset years. Nevertheless, the city of Yellowknife will long outlive the gold mines that it was founded on, demonstrating that not only can mining build sustainable communities, but that sustainable mining as a concept is an entirely valid precept.

To this effect, the authors examine the complex social and economic aspects of the gold mining industry in the Yellowknife area over the last 70 years by looking at four key questions:
1. Was wealth generated in a manner consistent with social preferences regarding environmental and cultural values?
2. Was this wealth distributed equitably among various constituencies?
3. How were the broader economic and political effects of the wealth generation managed?
4. How have the economic benefits been maintained, even as the actual mines became depleted?

The above framework provides an excellent construct in which to examine gold mining in the Yellowknife area through the lens of sustainable development.
Keywords: Sustainable development, Economic benefits, Socio-Economic, Wealth creation, Gold, Cultural values, Environmental values, Yellowknife Mining District
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