Figures predict drop in NWT mineral exploration spend

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Spending on mineral exploration in the Northwest Territories is set to decline by nine percent this year, according to revised Natural Resources Canada figures.

The federal ministry’s latest data suggests companies will spend $93 million on exploration in the NWT in 2015, down from $102 million a year earlier.

The majority of that spending comes from the diamond industry. Just over half of the money was spent on bids to find new deposits; the rest was spent evaluating existing finds.

In full: Explore Natural Resources Canada’s data

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The figure places the NWT seventh in Canada. The Yukon, receiving around $105 million in exploration investment, is sixth. Nunavut, at $203 million, is fifth.

Natural Resources Canada’s $93 million figure is actually double its initial $46 million estimate for the NWT, released in March – though local experts say that could be a data-gathering error, rather than an uptick in the territory’s fortunes.

“I’m being a little suspicious that they missed a project in their survey this spring,” NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines executive director Tom Hoefer told the CBC.

In 2007, the NWT attracted almost $200 million in mineral exploration spending – the highest total so far this century.

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