Wally Schumann: Unlocking our Potential - Invest NWT Session - Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada Convention

Delivered on March 4, 2018

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Thank you for coming – and for your interest in the NWT.  We recognize that competition for exploration and development dollars is strong.

It begs the question - how does the NWT expect to compete?  The answer to that question comes down to what we are calling the “NWT Difference”.

To understand our unique edge on mineral exploration and development, you first need to know two things.

The first thing you need to know is that the NWT has an extraordinary wealth of resources. 

We’re about way more than diamonds.  We are seeing resurgence of interest in the gold and base metals that established our industry.  We’re not talking about natural gas tonight – but our on shore and off-shore reserves are among the richest in the country.

Perhaps most exciting, we have are the resources needed to power the green economy of the future.     

As the federal government drives its agenda of innovation and technology attention is growing on the NWT’s strategic and technology minerals like lithium, cobalt, and rare earth elements.

The second thing you to need to know is: Northerners support mining. 86% of NWT residents believe a strong mining sector is vital to the long-term health of the NWT. 82% want to see more mining projects in the NWT. 

NWT residents and businesses support mining because they are an important part of our mining sector.  Mining has driven the NWT economy for a long time. Many of today’s leaders worked in mines and the exploration sector. When the diamond mines arrived, it was a natural evolution to get involved. 

Indigenous Governments in our territory also have a vested interest. They share in the resource royalties paid by our mines.

Our government is also supportive. Those of you that follow our politics will know that I’ve been taking heat for having an overly competitive royalty and tax regime – that’s got to tell you something.

We are drafting new mineral resource legislation to address the need for a modern, clear, competitive and made-in-the NWT legislative framework for mining. We’re invested in making new and relevant geoscience available.  This includes reports on the geochemistry of the Slave Geological Province which is one of the highest-potential regions in Canada.

Our government has a million dollar Mining Incentive Program available to prospectors and exploration companies carrying out mineral exploration in our Territory.

We have evolved a unique approach to mineral exploration and development in the NWT. It is based on the fundamental fact that northerners want new mines – and our economy needs new mines.

Our approach is built on partnerships with the industry stakeholders and the Indigenous governments that make up our territory. It is built on mutual respect and the recognition that each of us can contribute to the success of the other two to maximize benefits.

Through Socio Economic Agreements established by our government with minig companies and 25 years of working together, we have grown a made-in-the-NWT workforce and service sector

Our people are seeing a real and tangible reason to stay in school and seek higher learning. They are doing more than taking on labour jobs. They are going to University in the South and coming home schooled in mining related fields like engineering and geosciences. 

They are embracing the wage economy – buying homes and investing in their future.

Our Indigenous governments own and operate the companies that service the mines.  This has realized a robust indigenous business community. They own construction, logistics and transportation companies.

Some have expanded from our territory to service industry in Alberta and across Canada.

Mining is allowing our people to take control of their future. 

It provides thousands of jobs to northerners where otherwise there would be none.It is inspiring youth to stay in school and aspire to have better jobs and even careers. Mining revenues are empowering and shaping indigenous governments, businesses and communities.

That’s the NWT difference.

You can invest in extracting resources. If you want to do it in a territory where your investment will empower a people and inspire a future...

We want you to come invest in the NWT