Yellowknife Geoscience Forum 2022 - 50th Anniversary

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Blog Entries

November 14, 2022

This week’s Yellowknife Geoscience Forum, November 15-17, marks a waypoint on the Northwest Territories Journey in Geoscience discovery and communication.

For 50 Years, leaders and researchers in Canadian earth sciences have come to Yellowknife to share their insights into how the earth works and have in the process ensured that northern concerns and resources are well established on a national scale.

Over the decades, the focus of Northern geology has shifted from gold to diamonds, and now of critical minerals including Rare Earth Elements are entering centre-stage. This new age of mineral extraction comes hand in hand with a doubling down of interest in cleaner energy and climate change, better remediation practices and more inclusive Governance. The presentation schedule reflects this shift.


PUBLIC EVENT: The Charles Camsell Public Lecture Series

Past Wins and the Work Ahead:
A Panel Discussion on Resource Development in Canada's North

7:30-9:00pm - Nov 16, 2022


Summary of subjects


Critical Minerals

  • This will be a focus and popular topic of discussion at this year’s Geoscience Forum.
  • The NWT has significant critical mineral potential. Nechalacho and the advanced mineral development projects at Pine Point, Prairie Creek and NICO are good demonstrations of this potential.
  • The NWT will be working towards an NWT Critical Minerals Action Plan to be completed in 2023.
  • The NWT is working with Canada to support our NWT explorers and project developers in order to supply critical minerals to the North American and global supply chains.


Permafrost and Climate Change

  • A federally funded academic group called PermafrostNet will be holding their Annual General Meeting in Yellowknife on Monday November 14.
  • As a result, permafrost-themed research presentations will be abundant at this year’s Geoscience Forum.
  • Northern researchers, including those at the NWT Geological Survey, are participating in PermafrostNet and the recently formed Canadian Permafrost Association.

A window on an evolving landscape: When permafrost isn’t so permanent.


Mineral Resources Act and Regulations (MRAR)

  • ITI staff and consultants will be providing presentations on aspects of MRA regulation development.
  • A variety of other (non-MRAR) regulatory presentations will also be offered this year.
  • The MRAR will likely be a topic of discussion for some Geoscience Forum attendees, with questions/comments directed to GNWT staff and Members of Cabinet.
  • Public engagement on the MRAR will be commencing in later November on the GNWT engagement website. Technical engagement will continue with industry.
  • ITI is targeting a final set of MRA regulations to be public and through s35 consultation by the end of the life of this LA.  


Geothermal Energy

  • The NWT’s geothermal energy potential is once again receiving attention as Canada focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing a lower-carbon economy.
  • With other western provinces and territories currently developing geothermal legislation, there is growing interest in how the NWT might respond in making geothermal resource development a legislated and regulated future activity. The Yukon Government is just completed engagement on the future of the Yukon’s geothermal regulatory regime.


An Engaged Mining and Mineral Exploration Community

  • There has been excellent uptake by companies in providing Geoscience Forum updates on their NWT and western Nunavut projects.
  • Company presentations will describe various aspects of their development activities, from exploration to regulatory matters.
  • Some of these organizations will be recognized this year at the MAX Awards event on Thursday November 17.
  • Discussions will continue with partners on a revived Mineral Development Strategy, NWT Critical Minerals Action Plan and the high ESG standard that is set in the NWT.


Remediation Economy

  • A panel to discuss the remediation economy of the NWT is planned for this week on Wednesday November 16.
  • ITI will be releasing a discussion paper on this in the coming weeks
  • GNWT is working with CIRNAC and CANNOR to advance both business support capacity and training for NWT companies to take full advance of the current and future opportunities.