Minister Wawzonek reflects on AME Roundup 2022, reaffirming the GNWT’s commitment to increase responsible resource exploration and development

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Yellowknife — February 7, 2022

Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Caroline Wawzonek issued the following statement on resource development in the Northwest Territories:

“Last week, the Vancouver Convention Centre hosted AME Round-up, an annual conference for the mineral exploration industry that brings together colleagues from around the world to discuss all aspects of mineral resource exploration. Although disappointed to have missed out on this year’s in-person conference due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, I used the opportunity to invite industry stakeholders to a series of meetings to exchange ideas and discuss the progress being made in the territory’s mineral resources sector.

“From the development of socio-economic and benefit agreements to resource royalty sharing and the establishment of the Intergovernmental Council Legislative Development Protocol, the GNWT’s approach to mining over the last several years has been defined by strong Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance. In fact, our approach to the mineral resource industry has been moving in this direction since we opened our first diamond mine over 25 years ago.

“We are proud of our ethically sourced diamonds, and we are proud of the partnerships we have built with private sector and Indigenous partners over the years as we created diamond and gold industries that remain cornerstones of our economy, benefiting residents and communities across the NWT.

“As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, so does the mineral resource industry, and part of that recovery means seeking new opportunities. Our mining landscape is shifting from a sole focus on diamonds and gold to include a focus on the exploration and mining of critical minerals.

“The federal government has identified 31 minerals that it believes will position Canada as a leading supplier of critical minerals while the United States has identified a growing list of 50; many of these can be found in the NWT. To help guide the development of this new opportunity, the GNWT is currently engaging with stakeholders and partners to prepare a Critical Mineral Strategy for the territory. Engagement kicked off last year in a workshop that included stakeholders from across industry, academia and Indigenous governments.

“The success of the Cheetah and Vitals Nechalacho project proves to us that there is great potential for critical minerals production in our territory, and that it is best achieved through partnership.

“As we finalize new modern mineral resource legislation, continue to advance green energy opportunities including the expansion of the Taltson hydro facility, and continue to work with partners to identify and make improvements to regulatory processes for exploration projects, we are setting the stage for new opportunities and greater successes in the territory’s mining sector.

“I look forward to continuing my conversations with Indigenous Governments, industry, stakeholders, and fellow Members of the Legislative Assembly to increase resource exploration and development in the NWT, and to realize the true potential of our territory’s mineral wealth.”