Speaking Notes - Arctic Mining – Trends and Technology

Minister Schumann delivered the following remakrs this morning at an event held during PDAC. 

 

Check against delivery 

On behalf of the Premier and Government of the Northwest Territories, I’d like to thank you for inviting me to speak to you this morning.

Attending events like PDAC is important for our government. It provides an opportunity for us to showcase the Northwest Territories, promote the importance of mining and the benefits mining brings to the residents of the Northwest Territories, industry players, and Canada.

It also gives us a chance to talk to people in venues such as this about the world-class mineral potential that our territory has. The potential is immense and could bring economic benefits not just to the residents but to anyone who chooses to invest.

This morning I would like to take some time to talk to you about the Northwest Territories and mining industry. I will touch briefly about how the mining industry works and some of the areas we’re proud to be leaders in and then share a little information about some of the transformative projects on the horizon for the NWT.

The Northwest Territories is home to about 43,000 people. We have a very rich and diverse culture and our residents are proud to call the NWT home.

In the NWT, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Northerners learn together, work together and live together in a more integrated way than in other parts of Canada. Approximately 50% of NWT residents are Indigenous and are the majority in 29 of the NWT’s 33 communities.

We have a unique landscape with 1.3 million square kilometres and it is the land that has given us what we need to sustain life. Though our relationship to the land has changed over the years, one thing that has remained the same is the way we rely on the land for our economic survival.

Resource development has been the heart of our economy for decades. It drives our economy, generates billions in opportunity for local businesses, and provides thousands of residents with good middle-class jobs.

If we take a moment to look at the history of resource development in the NWT we can see that it all started with oil and gas development as far back as the 1930’s. Following that, our territory saw gold and metal mining take over the industry. It was the production of oil and gas and gold and metal mining that built towns and created great wealth for NWT residents and is part of our long history of contributing to the national economy. 

For the last 2 decades, resource development has remained, but the industry has been dominated by diamond mining. It is a commodity we’re proud of , but in the NWT, we’re much more than just that.

Our territory is home to many of the minerals that will fuel the global green economy, including cobalt, gold, lithium, bismuth, and rare earth elements. The makers of batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, hand held electronics and computers rely on these minerals to make their products more efficient. 

Alongside our mineral resources, our territory also has natural gas resources and as we continue to see a shift to lower-carbon alternatives, our natural gas has the potential to meet market needs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Modern regulatory regimes and new technologies ensure that we can safely and responsibly manage mining, and have been doing so at the diamond mines in the NWT for decades now.

Residents and businesses in the North support the responsible development of our natural resources. Mining has played a large part in our history and our residents know how vital this sector has been, and will continue to be for us.

Something that sets our jurisdictions apart from others is that decision-making and resource revenue sharing agreements exist with Indigenous governments. It is an area in which we are proud to be leaders – for the benefit of our territory and those who choose to invest in its future.

The Northwest Territories offers a low-risk investment jurisdiction that is setting the bar for Indigenous partnership — one that contributes to improved outcomes for northern communities and meaningful opportunities for Northerners.

The Government of the Northwest Territories has a strong history of fostering relationships between Indigenous and public governments and responsible developers to ensure that NWT residents and their communities benefit from the resource development that is happening.

The NWT model – that includes resource royalties, socio-economic, Impact Benefit Agreements and more - is at the forefront of Indigenous participation in mining, exploration and development. It is empowering and shaping Indigenous governments, businesses and communities; and allowing our people to take control of their future. 

In today’s investment climate, resource development requires a social license to operate. It is the NWT difference that is setting us apart and why we believe we have laid the groundwork for that social license. 

In fact, earlier this week a report came out from the Fraser Institute that ranked the 3 northern territories as the most attractive jurisdictions in the world to mining companies. The NWT alone jumped from 21st place in 2017 to 10th place in 2018.

This is proof that industry and mining executives hear what we’re saying and recognize the mining potential.

We have a good track record but know there’s still work to do to improve the investment climate and support the responsible development of the NWT’s natural resources.

One of the biggest challenges in NWT, and what we believe is preventing us from moving even further up in the ranks, is our infrastructure deficit. The Northwest Territories still requires much of the basic infrastructure that already exists in southern jurisdictions.

With the federal government, the GNWT is investing in road and energy infrastructure, like the Taltson expansion project and Slave Geological Province Corridor, that will help connect resource-rich regions of the NWT to markets, help green the mining industry and lower operating costs. I told you I’d touch briefly about some of the transformative projects on the horizon for our territory, and these are two of them.

Construction of an all-weather road into the Slave Geological Province Corridor would increase access to the world-class mineral deposits located in the region and lower the cost of mineral exploration and development.

It will also support a green economy by enabling development of the Taltson Hydro Expansion and Transmission Line project.

The Taltson Expansion Project is another one of our transformative projects and is part of a full service infrastructure corridor concept. It is a key element of our vision to transform our economy by lowering industrial emissions, providing clean energy to the Slave Geological Province, resource sector and much more.  

As I get close to wrapping up here this morning, I know that I have shared a lot of information with you but I want to leave you with a visual that can sum this information up for you.

This video your about to watch was produced for the annual International Kimberlite Conference that we’re hosting in 2021, but the information presented in it will give you a better understanding about what our territory is all about and how the resource sector contributes to our economy.

(Video plays)

I think this is a good place for me to end my speech, so thank you again for letting me share some information with you.