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Five (Of Many) Reasons to Invest in Northwest Territories Minerals

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In an increasingly-globalized world, there is no shortage of projects or places in which companies can invest their money.

Certain jurisdictions have distinct advantages. The Northwest Territories (NWT) has many.

Here are the top five factors (in no particular order) that we believe set the NWT apart as an excellent choice for resource companies looking to better their returns. 

Mineral Potential

The NWT has vast, untapped mineral potential across its extraordinary breadth of land.

There are thousands of confirmed occurrences of numerous minerals, from base metals and rare earths to diamonds and gold, amounting to literally metric tonnes of inferred and confirmed mineral resources.

The territory’s Slave Geological Province is a region of one of the highest estimated mineral potential in the world, with some even suggesting it rivals the legendary Abitibi Belt in northern Ontario and Quebec, home to more than 100 mines over the last century.

There have already been 25 years of an active diamond mining sector around Lac de Gras with produced value of NWT mineral production surpassing $50 billion this year, largely due to the diamond mines. This comes at the same time as that proven area attracts new diamond exploration activity. For example, Kennady Diamonds continues to produce positive core samples from drilling operations around Kennady Lake. And Gahcho Kue —the world’s largest new diamond mine — is beginning commercial production late 2016.

There continues to be promising finds of gold, the resource which drove the territory’s economy for a half-century. An increased level of exploration suggests there could be a lot more of that precious metal to be found.

And there are major identified deposits of metals like lithium, cobalt, and bismuth — minerals which will power the clean economy of the future.

With metal markets on the upswing, it’s a great time to get in there to explore all the potential the territory can offer.

Supportive Populace

In today’s environment of competitive reality and increased scrutiny of resource projects, social licence and public support must exist for mining projects to advance and succeed. But when the time comes to raise millions for exploration, you typically only have anecdotal support to count on.  Not so in the NWT, where there is hard data to back extraordinary support for the industry. 

A public opinion survey of 500 NWT residents in March 2016, conducted by Abacus Data and commissioned by the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines, found:

  • About eight in 10 people have positive feelings about mining and mineral exploration companies operating in the NWT
  • 86 per cent believe a strong mining sector is vital to the long-term health of the NWT economy
  • 86 per cent say mining is good for the NWT, 83 per cent say regulation of the sector works well
  • 82 per cent would like to see more mining projects in the NWT.

Exciting news for exploration companies looking to make their mark!

Political Will

The NWT offers a defined, well-established network of government and political action in support of the mining industry.

The 2016-2019 mandate of the Government of the Northwest Territories articulates specific support for mining and infrastructure, along with legislative initiatives to advance investor certainty and confidence.

A case in point is the NWT government’s Mineral Development Strategy, a specific, overarching plan to promote and support mineral development in the NWT, and the Mining Incentive Program which provides $400,000 a year in direct funding to exploration projects for companies and prospectors alike.

The territory’s capital planning also reflects the need for infrastructure development; an essential piece to drive industrial development.

Government in the NWT has also invested resources in building the most progressive Aboriginal engagement process for mining in Canada with an Intergovernmental Council which sees Aboriginal governments consistently engaged in issues of land and resource management, together with a focus on client service and community relations to connect communities and industry.

This, along with the creation of the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act in 1998 — which sees resource royalty-sharing among Aboriginal governments and collaboration through co-management boards — ensures engagement from the community-level up. 

Trained Resident Workforce

Built on a foundation of mining with over 80 years of history in mineral exploration and development, the NWT’s new “diamond” economy has attracted, developed and retained a skilled, expert and experienced northern workforce and mine service and supply industry.   

From this long history comes pioneering programs such as the NWT Mine Training Society, which evaluates and trains NWT residents and places them with companies that need them. Since 2004, the society has provided services to over 1900 individuals and directly placed more than 800 with mining companies requiring their skills. 

The Department of Education, Culture and Employment also uses their Skills for Success program to ensure adequate support systems are in-place to provide the necessary training for in-demand jobs. 

In short: people in the NWT definitely know what they’re doing.

Geoscience Expertise

With both territorial and federal government support, the past few years have been a period of growth for the NWT Geological Survey (NTGS).

Now a one-stop shop for geological information, the NTGS provides industry, academia, governments, and NWT residents with original research and historic data on the geology and resource potential of the NWT. Clients can access a broad inventory of information and expertise on bedrock mapping, resource assessments, industrial minerals, surficial geology, geochemistry, geophysics, petroleum geoscience, permafrost science, geomatics, database management, and geoscience education.

With a specific mandate to support responsible resource development in the territory, their office doors in Yellowknife are always open to industry.