Five (5) Things

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November 17, 2022


The Northwest Territories (NWT) is more than just open for business.  It’s ready to do business better, with an eye on the future both in terms of global demand for particular resources but also the expectation for meaningful social licence.

We look forward to discussing and pursuing opportunities for investment and growth with investors and visionaries that are ready to work and partner with us.


This article is included in the latest edition of the Unlocking Our Potential Magazine.  Look for it at this year’s Yellowknife Geoscience Forum or you can read it (on line) here.   


Here's a five-part checklist if you're thinking of getting into mineral exploration in the


Reach out to the NWT’s Client Service and Community Relations (CSCR) unit; the first point of contact within the Government of the NWT.

At the CSCR office in Yellowknife, you can connect with "resource pathfinders," who will guide you in navigating engagement and regulatory aspects linked to development projects. The CSCR's goal: to connect industry, communities and governments for mutually beneficial working relationships.

"The CSCR unit can assist you with getting quickly connected to the right people, at the right place and the right time," says Mike Byrne, a resource pathfinder with experience in the NWT mineral exploration industry.

Clients are sometimes referred to the CSCR or they reach out, "or sometimes we reach out to them," Byrne notes.

"We can explain how the regulatory regime in the NWT works, the need for early engagement with residents, particularly Indigenous governments, groups and communities.”

The unit’s role must be "fairly unique," he observes, because we gets a lot of compliments from people who say they have never encountered that level of service before.


Visit the Mining Recorder’s Office that administers the NWT’s sub-surface mineral tenure and issues prospector's licences, prospecting permits, mineral claims, claim tags, claim maps and mineral leases.

"Basically we are the single point of contact for anyone who wants to prospect for the purpose of staking mineral claims because, to do that legally, you need a prospecting license," says Mining Recorder Jessica Bos.

The Mining Recorder's Office approves about 170 licenses every year, which require annual renewal.

"If you want to explore, this is the place to come, and we're here to help you," Bos promises.


Get to know the N.W.T.'s regulatory regime.

Spoiler alert; if you find the NWT regulatory regime is "complex" and "uniquely intricate," you’re not alone.

It comprises a network of resource management boards, governments and other organizations, in which each have their role to play, depending on where you want to work in the territory.

The key is knowing who to contact and what information you need to present.  This is where the Client Service and Community Relations unit can help; and can speed things up exponentially."

Remember northerners are supportive, for the most part, of major infrastructure and resource projects; but this social license is grounded in the regulatory regime that takes into account many of the issues important to the local population like environmental protection, traditional knowledge and Indigenous rights.

It may require some upfront investment but, arguably, it serves to provide the very definition of a secured investment.


Check in with the NWT Geological Survey, the main source of geological information for the NWT.

The Survey works to advance geoscience knowledge of the NWT by conducting and publishing geoscientific research, analysing mineral and energy resources and permafrost, offering digital data, and providing education and outreach services.

Other services include a geological library with client work space, assistance with information requests, field research support, and co-supervision of university student research projects.

The Survey also delivers the territory's Mining Incentive Program, which can help to offset some of the costs and risks associated with mineral exploration.

Eligible prospectors can apply for exploration grants of up to $25,000, while eligible corporate applicants may apply for exploration grants of up to 60 per cent of eligible expenses to a maximum of $240,000.


Last but not least, there’s another friend to help you in the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines: the territorial industry association.

"We can provide new members with advice on who they should talk before they start work, and who can help them if they run into problems," said Tom Hoefer, the chamber's executive director. "All jurisdictions are different, and we can help them get up to speed more quickly in ours. Our offices can also provide a base from which they can work."

Today’s chamber is even more important today than in the past, Hoefer notes, and there has been a "sea of change" in how mining companies work with the environment and with communities, particularly Indigenous communities, over the past 25 years.

Regulations have improved, but so too have mines’ approaches and performance.

"And how many know that mining today is the largest private sector employer of Indigenous people in Canada?  I’m proud to say that the NWT has always been a leader on that front."


Client Service and Community Relations

Tel: 1-867-767-9208



Mining Recorder's Office

Tel.: 767-9210 ext. 63464



NWT Geological Survey

Tel: (867) 767-9211 x63469



NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines

Tel: (867) 873-5281