MDS Progress Report Proves it’s Worth its Weight in Gold

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Blog Entries

August 29, 2019

The NWT Mineral Development Strategy (MDS) has been in full swing since its implementation in 2014. The recently released Progress Report lays out the results of activities carried out in relation to the MDS from fiscal years 2016 – 2019. The MDS is one of the GNWT’s key policy instruments in improving investor and public confidence in the resource sector. The report offers detailed information on the 5-Pillar approach that we encourage you to explore yourself, but here are our top five takeaways from the report.

1. Achievements that Shine

This year’s report focuses on communicating the key results of MDS activities. During 2016-2019, the GNWT worked to implement 67 actions identified under the MDS.  In this second year of MDS implementation, nearly 25 percent of activities have identifiable results. The description of these activities and their outcomes present the core of this report. Here are just a few notable achievements:

  • Continued to increase Northwest Territories Geological Survey’s (NTGS) capacity to make quality geoscience information publicly available;
  • Increased the availability of mining and exploration incentives in the NWT;
  • Increased awareness of the NWT as a place to invest for mineral exploration and development;
  • Increased Indigenous participation in the exploration and mineral resource sectors; and
  • Increased awareness among NWT businesses of mining procurement opportunities. Non-funded key activities in 2016-2019 also contributed to identifiable short-term outcomes. Overall, the non-funded activities have:
  • Led to increased investments in NWT transportation infrastructure; 
  • Contributed to the finalization of land, resource and self-government agreements; and
  • Contributed to increased public awareness of the mineral exploration and mining industries, and related education opportunities.

These MDS achievements show the breadth and depth of the GNWT’s commitment to promoting responsible mineral resource development in the NWT through cross-departmental and cross stakeholder participation.

2. Still Plenty to Do

The Mineral Development Strategy (MDS) is a ten to fifteen year Strategy with short, medium and long term outcomes, correlating to five, ten, and fifteen year time horizons. Moving towards the 19th Legislative Assembly, this Strategy remains the guiding document for supporting responsible, sustainable mineral development in the interest of providing long-term benefits to NWT residents.

To that end, the Department of ITI is working towards a five-year review of the MDS in order to refresh and refocus the Strategy for the next five years to better achieve the desired outcomes, and a MDS that is reflective of the Post Devolution NWT. The GNWT is in a good position with the information collected based on the first five years of the implementation of the MDS to examine successes and make course corrections where required.

It is also an opportunity to ensure the goals and actions of the MDS reflect the current state of the mining industry.

3. Creating a Competitive Edge

The MDS has helped establish the NWT as a destination of choice for responsible mineral investment, exploration and development.  In fact, $211,438,000in Capital Investment has been secured since 2016.

According to the Fraser Institute’s Survey of Mining Companies the NWT ranked 10th worldwide for Overall Investment Attractiveness (up from 35 in 2015) and 1st in Canada and 4th worldwide (up from 21st worldwide in 2015) for Best Practices Mineral Potential as of 2018. This is a huge improvement over the last few years.

The plan is to keep the momentum going and continue hitting milestones.

4. Employing the North

The MDS contributed to the development of an educated, trained and readily available northern workforce and ensured that the benefits of mineral development are accruing to Indigenous communities and all NWT residents.

Since the signing of the first SEA in 1996, Ekati, Diavik, Snap Lake and Gahcho Kué have provided employment of approximately 25,776 NWT person years, and purchased over $13 billion from NWT businesses.

5.Next Steps

As a long-term strategy, the MDS must be flexible. Commitments made in the Strategy require ongoing updates to the implementation of the short, medium and long terms goals as outlined in the five-year Implementation Plan. It has always been clear that long-term collaboration and involvement of many partners is required for the successful implementation of the MDS, and for the long-term prosperity of the NWT.

The next key step will be a review of recommendations received from MDS partners on opportunities to improve implementation work and determine whether the MDS is having the intended impact.

The GNWT is in a good position with the information collected based on the first five years of the implementation of the MDS to examine successes and make course corrections where required.  It is also an opportunity to ensure the goals and actions of the MDS reflect the current state of the mining industry and the Post Devolution NWT context.

To get a full version of the progress report, click here.