Mining royalties zero in 2020: GNWT 2021 budget

Minister Caroline Wawzonek addressing the Legislative Assembly. (Supplied by Assembly NWT Twitter.)
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The GNWT’s 2021 budget estimates zero royalties from the mining industry this past year, as its own-source revenues decline.

The mining sector has been hard hit by the pandemic, with the international market severely declining and costs rising due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Initial estimates in the 2020-21 budget forecasted $30.7 million in royalties from mining in 2020, but the revised budget forecasted the GNWT would receive no royalties. The numbers in 2021-22 are only slightly higher, with the GNWT anticipating $1.5 million in royalties from mining companies.

Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek says December’s numbers — which aren’t included, as the 2021 budget only uses data up to the end of November — showed a little money may be outstanding, and could eventually count in the final 2020 royalty totals.  

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“I don’t have a crystal ball on exactly how that will unfold and similarly with mining and the global markets again, I’d love to know, but I don’t,” she says.

 “Although the signs are that there is a recovery underway.”

The 2021-22 budget included $400,000 for the mining incentive program, to encourage mining companies to undertake new mining projects. 

That could be important for the industry’s future, with a Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency report said the NWT’s economy was set for a worse future than the other territories, partly due to an aging mining industry.

“The territory’s diamond production has likely passed its peak, as indicated by mining plan.”

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