Northwest Territories Geologic Survey Receives Laurels

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It was an unexpected but well-deserved honour for the Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) last week.

The geoscience arm of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) was awarded the 2022 MAX Award for Distinguished Service during a gala event concluding the Yellowknife Geoscience Forum


Mining North Works – MAX Awards

2022 Max Awards celebrate Mining and Exploration Excellence


The Director of the NTGS, John Ketchum, accepted the award on behalf of his division, giving credit to a great team of scientists and non-scientific staff as well as an extensive network of research partners from academia and industry.

John Ketchum - Director, Northwest Territories Geological Survey accepts the MAX Award on behalf of his team.  


John also recognized the support provided by ITI’s Minister and senior management teams, both past and present, who consistently go above and beyond the national average in their support of the work conducted by the Survey.

The Distinguished Service award is given in recognition of an individual or organization who has achieved one or more of the following:

  • Made a substantial contribution to mineral exploration and mining development in the NWT over a number of years
  • Made outstanding contributions to the NWT minerals industry in the fields of:
    • Finance
    • Geology
    • Geophysics
    • Geochemistry research
    • Any other related activities

The NTGS received the MAX Award from David Mate, a Director with the Geological Survey of Canada.  Here’s what he had to say in presenting the award.  

“The Northwest Territories Geological Survey epitomises ‘science in service of the public good’. The organization began in 2001 as a pooling of resources, a Federal and Territorial Government collaboration, and has strategically evolved over the years to meet the changing needs of the territory.”

“In the last decade, the Energy Geoscience team added geothermal research to their scope of work, a team of four permafrost scientists was created, and positions specializing in geophysics, surficial geology, and industrial and critical minerals were established.”

“Currently, this high-performance team of 25 individuals collectively hold 26 undergraduate, 19 Masters, and 10 Ph.D. degrees. In the same office, there are also countless certifications, professional designations, external accomplishments and contributions, and numerous languages spoken!”

(L-R) Hendrik Falck, Asif Mirza, Merilie Reynolds, Philippe Normandeau, Bernadette Knox, Scott Cairns, John Ketchum, David Mate (Geological Survey of Canada)


“Compared to other geological surveys in Canada, the NTGS is small but an incredibly productive organization because of its ability to leverage research partnerships. Every year NTGS staff conduct field research, pore over data, and write reports with collaborators from universities, industry, and other governmental organizations. Close ties with the mineral exploration industry allows the NTGS to liaise between industry and academia. A co-developed research program ensures that their efforts benefit all parties. They also co-supervise student research projects and co-author peer-reviewed articles with their external collaborators, and leverage partnerships that result in the production of far more NWT geoscience knowledge than the team could deliver on its own.”

“The NTGS also administers the Mining Incentive Program, which funds prospector and corporate exploration projects. The MIP leverages three times the government investment, and a positive program review in 2019 supported the approval of a 50% budget increase.”

“As honest brokers of geoscience information, the NTGS team is dedicated to knowledge dissemination and educational activities. Their information service team ensures that their publications are polished and that clients find what they need in their various databases, library, and geological materials collection.”

“The NTGS houses and disseminates an enormous collection of NWT mineral exploration data collected through the assessment process, as well as by donation from industry.  These take the form of digital data, paper reports, and samples of rock and core.  Curation and redistribution of these materials saves time and millions in exploration expenditures, helping valuable mineral exploration dollars to be spent effectively and efficiently.”

“NTGS staff can be found sharing their passion in classrooms across the territory and contribute annually to the Tundra Science and Culture Camp, Resource and Energy Development Information events, and Mining Week activities.”