The NWT’s Competitive Edge: Critical Minerals and ESG

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January 24, 2023

“It’s time to change the narrative around the NWT’s competitiveness” Minister Wawzonek told delegates at AME Round Up in Vancouver yesterday, noting that staked claims were no longer a sole indicator of a region’s competitiveness.

The NWT Minister joined Ontario’s Minister of Mining George Pirie and BC’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Josie Osbourne on a panel discussing critical minerals and competitiveness.

Their discussion highlighted how the competitive edge for jurisdictions with critical minerals is being increasingly defined by commitments to UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) and how governments are approaching reconciliation.

The NWT’s Nechalacho project is the only rare earth element mine in Canada and only the second in North America. It marks the first time in Canada that an Indigenous company has led mining operations in its own traditional territory.

It is an example, Minister Wawzonek told delegates, of how the Northwest Territories is “doing business better”.

Meaningful partnerships with Indigenous governments and organizations, including protocols for the development of legislation around lands and resources are building and rebuilding trust Minister Wawzonek said that will accelerate access to commodities and projects in the NWT.

The Minister’s comments held true later in the evening at an NWT–sponsored networking event focused on Environment, Social Governance (ESG) that orchestrated connections between northern leaders and Indigenous governments in attendance at Round-Up with industry representatives interested in laying the groundwork for future projects and partnerships.