Coppermine (Kugluktuk)


67°50’N, 115°06’ W. Elevation 22.5 m at the airstrip. 595 air km N of Yellowknife, close to 1 603 air km N of Edmonton, in the Kitikmeot Region.


Average annual precipitation: 10.3 cm rainfall, 100.7 cm snowfall, 20.2 cm total precipitation. July mean high 13.8 °C, low 5.6 °C. January mean high -26.4 °C, low -33.8 °C. Winds SW at 16.6 km/h.


Coppermine was probably the site of semi-permanent Inuit fishing and sealing camps from very ancient times. The Hudson’s Bay Company sent an exploration voyage led by Samuel Hearne to search for copper. Hearne reached the mouth of the river and named it the Coppermine on July 14, 1771. In 1865, influenza spread along the coast, wiping out 30% of the population. In the years 1913-16, Diamond Jenness, an ethnologist with the Canadian Arctic Expedition, studied and recorded the traditional lifestyle of Inuit in the Coppermine area. The development of the community was relatively rapid after 1916. The Hudson’s Bay company established a post in 1927. The RCMP arrived in 1932. A weather station, radio facilities, nursing station and a school followed over the next few decades. Oil and gas exploration in the 1970’s provided training and employment for a large proportion of the population.


  • Population: June 1981, 809; 1986 census, 888; June 1988 GNWT estimate, 956; 1991 census, 1 059.
  • 1986 sex distribution: 48% male, 52% female.
  • 1986 age distribution: 0-4, 16%; 5-14, 20%; 15-64, 60%, 65+, 4%
  • 1987 ethnic distribution: 1% Dene/Metis, 92% Inuit, 7% non-native.
  • Languages spoken: Inuinnaqtun (Inuktitut), English.

Political Organization

  • Hamlet status, April 1, 1981
  • Mayor: Donald Havioyak
  • Senior Administrative Officer: Baba Pederson
  • Hamlet office: (403) 982-4461; (403) 982-4471; fax (403) 982-3060
  • MLA Kelvin Ng (Kitikmeot)


Major activities -- Handicrafts and carving, trapping, sealing, fishing, hunting, oil and gas exploration.

Banks -- None. Co-ops Coppermine Eskimo Co-operative Limited.

Renewable Resources --
Fish: Arctic Char, Whitefish;
Marine mammals: Ringed Seal, Harbour Seal;
Game: Caribou, Fox, Moose, Polar Bear, Muskox; Quotas: Caribou, 900 (shared); Muskox, 120; Polar Bear, 2-6; Barren-Ground Grizzly Bear, 5.
Total number of trappers (1987-88): 94
Total dollars earned: $70 000
Renewable Resources Officers: Colin Adjun, John Stevenson, Keith Hickling
Other Renewable Resources: Caribou bone (carving material), Caribou antlers (export, medicinal); timber in the Coppermine River valley

Non-renewable Resources --
Minerals: copper, medium potential; medium potential for platinum group elements, high potential for silver. Gold and silver exploration nearby.
Other Non-renewable Resources: Soapstone

Tourism -- Char fishing, canoeing expeditions, historical interest. Arts and crafts; Caribou bone and native copper artifacts, soapstone carvings, “Mother Hubbard” parkas.

Prices and Income -- Private Households Average Income, 1985: $24 181. Food prices, 1987: 48% higher than Yellowknife.

Local Businesses -- In addition to those listed above: Building contractors, fur buyers, general retail, food, recreational vehicles, gifts, building management, secretarial service, hotels, outfitters, restaurants, vehicle rentals, photographers, janitorial.


Air (Take-offs and landings, 1988: 2 004)
Airport Operator: Hamlet of Coppermine (GNWT), Transport Canada
Airport Facilities: Licensed 1 524 m x 30 m gravel runway, taxiway and apron; Airfield lighting consisting of low intensity runway/taxi/apron edge lights, runway identification, end and threshold lights, VASIS; apron floodlights, rotating beacon and lighted wind sock; Navaid - NDB; air terminal building.
Services: Flight Services Station (FSS) - Weather/Communications/Flight planning; Scheduled airfield maintenance. Scheduled Service: NWT Air to Yellowknife/Iqaluit
Water/Ice Aerodrome: Unlicensed float plane access with no services; shoals near shore; subject to ocean fogs; Break-up July 15; Freeze-up September 15.
Water/Ice Aerodrome Location: 67 50’ N, 115 05’W. Elevation: 00.

Barge service: operator, NTCL from Hay River


  • Postal Code: X0E 0E0. Mail five times a week
  • Telephone: NorthwesTel (Anik), local and long distance.
  • Radio: CBC Radio (Anik), community radio.
  • Television: CBC Television (Anik).

Medical/Social Services

  • Community Health Centre: four beds, two bassinets, one crib
  • Medical staff: seven persons
  • Social Services Facilities: four person Community Social Services Office,Coppermine Awareness Centre (alcohol & drug abuse), Youth Justice Committee.


  • School: Kugluktuk, K-9; Student Enrolment (1988-89): 217; Teachers: 12; Local Education Authority: Coppermine Education Council.
  • Vocational and Continuing Education: Adult education centre, one resident adult educator; Arctic College extension program.

Housing and Accommodation

  • NWT Housing Corporation units (1989): 173
  • HAP housing allocations 1980-89: 12
  • GNWT staff housing units: 17 houses
  • Commercial accommodation: Coppermine Inn, accommodates 38 in 11 rooms, shared bath, dining room.

Recreation and Culture

Coppermine Recreation Centre and Arena. Movies, dances, hockey, broomball. Playground, school gym, sports field, community hall. Coppermine community Library. Easter and Christmas Games (Arctic sports). Natik Frolic (May) Carnival. Active Recreation Committee.