Economic Implications of Climate Change: Adaptations of mine access roads in northern Canada

Climate change is one of the major threats to northern infrastructure in Canada.

The mining industry is particularly vulnerable to climate change, and in the Canadian North the effects of climate change on mining-related transportation have become a significant concern. Climate-driven disruptions to mine access roads have caused economic losses and raised concerns about projected future changes in the region.

IISD undertook a study to evaluate the climate-related vulnerabilities and related costs and benefits of the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road, a mine access road built mainly over frozen lakes in the northeastern region of the Northwest Territories. The road was chosen due to its sensitivity to climate and its regional economic importance, and because of the availability of existing research and analysis. The study provides background information on the road, including projected climate conditions for key parameters related to road operations and estimates of the economic implications. The results of this study provide valuable information for road owners and stakeholders using the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road, and for decision-makers planning for changes to the road. Further, the results provide a better understanding of climate thresholds for future years and how crossing those thresholds will affect costs.

Project details

Climate Change Adaptation
Focus area