Caroline Wawzonek: 50th Yellowknife Geoscience Forum November 15-17

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Yellowknife — November 14, 2022

Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Caroline Wawzonek provided the following statement on the 50th Yellowknife Geoscience Forum:

“Tomorrow, we welcome the 50th Geoscience Forum to Yellowknife, an opportunity for Northern researchers, explorers, and engineers in the mineral resource industry to come together and exchange ideas, discoveries, and developments.

“From its conception in 1972, the Geoscience Forum has grown immensely. What started as a gathering of 150 prospectors and mining enthusiasts at the Miner’s Mess, a coffee shop that sat inside the Yellowknife Inn, has become a three-day conference spread across several Yellowknife venues.

“The last 50 years have been busy for our mineral resources industry.

“In the 90s, we became the third largest producer of rough diamonds in the world, the same decade that our partners signed the territory’s first socio economic and impact benefit agreements.

“Today these agreements bring growth and capacity to the NWT economy, and have positioned our territory to be a leader in the application of environmental, social and governance (ESG) and ESG-Indigenous principles – something that is sought out today by socially conscious investors.

“These agreements have led to the creation of tens of thousands of jobs; training and career development opportunities for residents; and billions of dollars in Northern procurement that has contributed to the success of many Northern and Indigenous-owned companies, development corporations, and joint ventures.

“Today, we are still home to three operating diamond mines, but also have Canada’s first rare earth mining project – the first link in an independent mine-to-motor supply chain that will see NWT rare earths processed in Saskatchewan for use in German-made electric vehicles.

“Thanks to the success of the Nechalacho rare earth elements project, the NWT also holds claim to having the first rare earths mine in Canada, and second in North America. The project features an agreement with Det’on Cho Nahanni Construction Corporation, owned by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation to provide mining services. It is the first project in the country in which an Indigenous group has been contracted to extract minerals in its own territory.

“The Northwest Territories has a proud legacy – almost a century’s worth and counting – of continuous mining.  It shapes our heritage and our future; and it is foundational to the future growth of our economy.

“With the exploration and development of critical minerals, continued investments in geoscience, modernized legislation, new infrastructure development, and the evolution of ESG, the GNWT is investing in a modern and uniquely northern approach to resource development; one that is ready to welcome the mineral industry of tomorrow.

“I look forward to attending the Geoscience Forum this year and meeting with the passionate and inspiring players in the North’s mineral resources industry. Together we can increase resource exploration and development in the NWT, and realize the true potential of the territory’s mineral wealth.”