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Good morning everyone.
Thank you to the Parliamentary Secretary for his words.
Mr. Lefebvre has done a great job of outlining the details of the investments that our governments are making today.
As he mentioned, the Slave Geological Province is a region rich in mineral deposits. It is – in fact - the birthplace of Canadian diamonds.
This rich resource area that has established Canada as the third largest producers of diamonds by value in the world is still largely unexplored but the Government of the Northwest Territories is working to define the full extent of its potential – and this investment will help us.
We know that there are more than just diamonds in the area. There are also gold, base metals and the rare earths that the world’s emerging technology economy will need.
I want to acknowledge the strong record of support that the NWT Geological Survey has received from CanNor to advance exploration in the NWT. Today’s announcement is yet another confirmation of that continuing support and it is very welcomed.
It is believed that the Slave Geological Province will – in time - rival the Abitibi belt in Northern Ontario which has brought billions in economic activity benefiting not just the region, but our country.
It is a reminder that the true economic value of the North is only now being realized. We’re playing catch-up. And, the payoff on investing in the North will be tremendous.
Just last 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.
In the NWT, we believe that what’s preventing us from moving even further up that list is our infrastructure deficit – and today’s announcement will help us address this challenge.
Not only will the Slave Geological Corridor increase access to our mineral resources but it will open up and connect our diamond fields.
Improved access will reduce operating costs for existing mines and facilitate resource exploration and development activities in this vast, untapped and resource-proven region.
It will also support the development of the Taltson hydro expansion project in our territory - a foundational element in our plan to transport clean, renewable electrical energy between the Northwest Territories and the national electrical grid.
It may even – in time - link the NWT, through Nunavut, to a deep water port on the Arctic coast.
Roads into the North are not just Northern projects. They benefit Canada as a whole. They require goods and services from across Canada; jobs, contracts and business that contribute to the tax coffers of provincial governments from coast to coast.
This announcement today is an important one as it demonstrates the coming together of our 2 governments to begin laying the groundwork for a project which can realize those shared goals — a territory transformed by good middle-class jobs and robust economic activity, and a country positioned to be the leading mining nation for decades to come.
I would once again like to thank the federal government for their partnership and thank you all for joining us this afternoon for this announcement.