Pine Point, Northwest Territories

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Pine Point was a townsite on the south shore of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada that lay between the towns of Hay River and Fort Resolution. It was built to serve the work force at the Pine Point Mine, an open-pit mine that produced lead and zinc ores. The town reached a peak population of about 2,000 in 1976, but was abandoned and deconstructed soon after the mine closed in 1988.

Pine Point, Northwest Territories, Canada.
Pine Point
Country Canada
Province Northwest Territories
Established 1963
Extinct Early 1990s
 • Type Mayor-council government
 • Mayor Michael Lenton (1988)
Population (2016)
 • Total 0


A huge laydown of drillcore from 25 years of exploration work that defined 50 lead-zinc deposits at Pine Point.

The first buildings were erected in 1952 during the original exploration and development campaign, and even before that a number of log cabins had been built in the late 1920s. The modern town was surveyed in 1962 and became operational by 1963.

The town was a joint-venture between the Canadian Government and the mine owner, Cominco. It became a territorial settlement in the 1970s with private businesses. As an unincorporated place, it recorded a population of 1,225 in the 1971 census.[1] Pine Point had an elementary school (kindergarten to grade 5)—Galena Heights—and a grade 6 to 12 school, called Matonabbee School. The last graduating class was in 1988 as the mine was closing. Mike Lenton was the town's last mayor.[2]

More than 15 million tonnes grading over 7% zinc plus lead (about 5 years of normal production) was depleted from the 1985 and 1986 ore reserves.

The mine was closed in 1988, forcing the single-industry town to close. Pine Point houses were sold cheaply, and many of the buildings were then moved to Fort Resolution (including the hockey arena), Hay River and northern Alberta. The remaining buildings were demolished, and today the site is completely abandoned, although there is still evidence of the street layout.[3]

Pine Point is the subject of a 2011 web documentary Welcome to Pine Point, created by Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge and produced by the National Film Board of Canada. The web documentary includes audiovisual material and mementos compiled by ex-Pine Point resident Richard Cloutier for his own website, Pine Point Revisited.[4][5]


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1966 675 —    
1971 1,225 +81.5%
1976 1,975 +61.2%
1981 1,850 −6.3%
1986 1,600 −13.5%
1991 9 −99.4%
1996 0 −100.0%

Pine Point was first settled in 1952, but did not become an established settlement until 1963. As the mine expanded during the 1970s, so did the population, reaching a peak of nearly 2,000 by the 1976 census.[6]