Finance minister hopes to boost investment in mining industry

An aerial shot of the Diavik mine, whose part-owners Dominion have been struggling financially during the pandemic. (Supplied by DDMI.)
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An additional $100,000 is being put towards four exploration projects supported by the Mining Incentive Program, by the GNWT.
 
Nineteen mineral exploration projects received program funding this year.
 
The extra funding, $120,000 in total, was provided to companies currently active in the NWT and “positioned to make use of additional funding to support or enhance their exploration activities.”

Finance minister Caroline Wawzonek said the funding would hopefully lead to a boost to investment in the mining sector in the Northwest Territories.

“Renewed exploration activity is needed to restore levels of investment, partnership, employment, and growth in the NWT’s economy,” Caroline Wawzonek, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment. “At this critical time, it is essential that we support companies that are promoting economic activity.”

We want to restore our mineral development sector – not just our mines but also exploration companies with early and advanced projects – to ensure we have projects and mines in the future to drive economic growth and prosperity.”

The mining industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operations at Ekati have been suspended for months, the future of operations at Diavik are looking uncertain amid Dominion’s financial struggles and the sector as a whole is struggling to find a market, which is leading to losses in the territory’s revenues, according to Wawzonek.

At the beginning of November, Rocky Simpson, MLA for Hay River South, called on the GNWT to do “all it can to support” the mining industry, which “gives residents hope” of bettering their lives. 

“With the variety and abundance of non-renewable resources present in the NWT, we continue to be a have-not territory,” Simpson said in the Legislative Assembly. 

“We as a government must promote and support the exploration and development of our non-renewable resource sector through clear and reasonable legislation and with timely decisions so projects can advance.”

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