GNWT political and government representatives demonstrated the territory’s broad-based commitment to mining and exploration this week at Canada’s premier industry conference for mining.
The NWT Cabinet joined MLA Cory Vanthuyne, NWT Aboriginal governments and representatives from the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) at Mineral Exploration Roundup in Vancouver, B.C. to promote NWT minerals and demonstrate government-wide — and intergovernmental — support for the industry that makes up 20% of the NWT’s economy.
The mining sector is critical to the economic health of the NWT. In 2015, almost $1 billion in goods and services was purchased by NWT mines from northern businesses. The sector employs roughly 10% of the NWT workforce and provides millions in taxation and royalties annually - essential for investment in health, social services, housing, and education.
“These are challenging times," noted Premier Bob McLeod. “We can’t afford to take mining for granted. We’re in a position where we need to improve the NWT’s investment climate to protect the long-term interests of our constituents.”
Engaging With Industry
The Premier and his Cabinet took that message to the membership of the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines on Tuesday. “We recognize the challenges and conditions that your industry faces in the NWT — and the implications that this will have on our economy.” Premier McLeod said.
The NWT delegation and Chamber later held a working luncheon to hear directly from industry representatives about the challenges faced in developing proposed projects and exploring for new mineral deposits in the NWT.
“Ultimately, it is the private sector who will invest in the projects necessary to sustain the industry,” McLeod said. “You know best where the barriers lie, and what can be done to improve the business case for NWT mining.”
The delegation was also present on the convention floor, with Cabinet members taking questions from attendees and a “Coffee with Cabinet” event — gaining more industry input in the process.
Celebrating and Promoting the NWT
On Tuesday night, the delegation turned their attention from what the NWT must do to what the NWT already has. The GNWT and Cabinet hosted NWT Night — an evening dedicated to celebrating and promoting mining in the NWT.
In attendance were stakeholders from across the industry who welcomed the opportunity to engage with government leaders in a more relaxed setting.
Premier Bob McLeod and Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Wally Schumann delivered remarks recognizing the contributions of the mining sector to the NWT and highlighting a confidence in its future.
“I am confident that we will be returning to North with the solutions that will define the next generation of exploration and mining in the NWT,” Schumann said in his remarks.
The GNWT has committed to supporting mineral exploration and the mining sector through the implementation of the NWT Mineral Development Strategy.
Introduced in 2013, it recognizes the need, foremost to “strengthen the competitive advantage of the mineral and mining industry in the NWT.”