September 7, 2017
As community visits for our first ever Northwest Territories-made Mineral Resources Act begin, we want to highlight four key themes for discussion we will be focusing on at these public engagement sessions.
There is no denying the Northwest Territories has a wealth of natural resources. It is important to make sure when these resources are developed, Northwest Territories (NWT) residents benefit.
These benefits can include royalties collected on resource revenues, employment for NWT residents, business opportunities and benefit agreements with communities..
The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) can play a role in promoting these kinds of benefits, and work to keep them in the North with this new legislation. This is why maximizing benefits emerged as an important theme as we draft our first ever legislation for mining and exploration.
There are a few overarching principles we see as important in this conversation.
- Maximizing benefits for NWT residents
- Striking a balance between encouraging responsible mineral development and ensuring residents benefit from NWT natural resources
This public engagement process is all about hearing from YOU on how we can reach these kinds of goals.
Under this general theme, there a couple of key topics to consider.
- Revenues: The GNWT collects royalties, taxes, and fees from mining and also exploration companies, which can then be invested in programs and services contributing to the success and well-being of NWT residents. What are your thought on rates of revenue from mining and exploration companies? How should the GNWT balance the need to be competitive with the balance of the right rate of revenue from mining activities?
- Socio-Economic Benefits: Socio-economic benefits include things like local employment, purchasing through local businesses, community investment, and training. Some of these benefits are agreed to in two types of benefit agreements:
- Impact Benefit Agreements (IBAs): Agreements are confidential and negotiated direct between Indigenous governments and mining companies to tailor benefits provided to the needs of their communities near the project.
- Socio-Economic Agreements: Agreements negotiated by the GNWT with mining companies to ensure broad benefits for NWT residents working on a common goal of benefits and also social impact mitigation.
We have a chance to look at how these benefits are negotiated, and formalize the process for creating these agreements.
Should the new legislation address benefit agreements differently than they are today? Could GNWT involvement or assistance in negotiating IBAs be beneficial? Should incentives be provided to companies that go above-and-beyond in environmental protection or providing community benefits?
Want more details on these topics? Visit Engage-ITI.ca/MRA to find backgrounders and information, then sign up to HAVE YOUR SAY on this landmark legislation.