What’s Mined is Yours (at least in part)

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Blog Entries

October, 11, 2022

For those with an interest in geology and mining, a visit to Canada’s first producing rare earth mine is exciting but it is also important regulatory work for the GNWT.

On September 7, Andy Leszczynski, Director of Diamonds, Royalties and Financial Analysis at the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment and Manager of Geology and Resource Royalty Policy Hendrik Falck, accompanied by Nabeel Lakhani and Anne-Marie Jennings, spent the day in hard hats and safety vests touring the Nechalacho Mine site where they observed operations at the North-T open pit. The team also had the privilege to view the innovative portable ore crusher and sorting machine as well as bulk bags of ore concentrate being readied for shipping south to a newly opened Saskatoon processing plant. 

The Nechelacho North T-Zone, and the nearby Tardiff Zone, are host to neodymium-praseodymium (Nd-Pr) rich deposits which are critical to the future of several green technologies. The transportation of the concentrate out of the territory to the processing plant in Saskatchewan is the first journey these rocks will take since they first were formed about 2 billion years ago.

The mining royalties oversight process ensures the people of the Northwest Territories’ interests in the mining operations are met. Because mineral deposits are a non-renewable commodity, mining royalties are an important part of making certain that the revenues generated from their extraction are properly collected and distributed to all the interested parties.

Information and FAQs on Mining Royalties

Visits to new mines are important, but it is equally important to visit NWT’s older mines. On August 17, Leszczynski, Falck and two GNWT auditors, Erin Devine and Natalie Kellar took part in a visit to the Ekati diamond mine site. Despite the age of the mine, there were a lot of firsts on this visit too. It was the first post-COVID-19 GNWT visit to the mine, the first visit since Arctic Canadian Diamond Company took over operations, and a first visit for most of the ITI team; there was a lot to see and relationships to build!

Ekati is on a whole other scale from Nechalacho.

Rather than a single open pit, Ekati has nine pits, each of which dwarfs the giant trucks that transport material to the onsite processing facility. Instead of a portable crusher like Nechelacho’s, the Ekati crushing and sorting chain is several hundred meters long housed in one of the largest buildings in the NWT.

The purpose of the Ekati trip was to view and audit the processing assets that were claimed on the company’s royalty return. As part of the auditing function; we verify the usage and existence of the items claimed in the processing asset allowance.

Additionally, the GNWT staff reviewed sorting procedures and sampling techniques to ensure representative samples are being obtained for Government diamond valuations.