Mr. Speaker, the Northwest Territories has world-class mineral potential that could bring economic benefits to the residents of the Northwest Territories, industry players, and Canada.
In fact, nearly $1 billion of our economy comes from mining and exploration. It is the primary generator of wealth in the Northwest Territories and the reason why our government has made the commitment to support mineral exploration and the mining sector, by implementing the Mineral Development Strategy, capturing opportunities to build transportation infrastructure that enables resources to get to market, closing the skills gap in the mining sector, implementing the Mining Incentive Program, developing and introducing a Mineral Resources Act, and supporting Indigenous governments to build capacity in dealing with mining-related activities.
Mr. Speaker, last month our government was represented at Association for Mineral Exploration Roundup in Vancouver and used our attendance there as an opportunity to promote the importance of mining and the benefits mining brings to the residents of the Northwest Territories, industry players, and Canada. This was also an opportunity to increase awareness, knowledge and understanding of our world-class mineral potential and profile our partnerships with Indigenous and community governments.
Today, I would like to share with Members some observations about the trip, a “Roundup of Roundup” if you will, and why I continue to believe that our attendance at this annual event is critical.
Mr. Speaker, I was joined in Vancouver by some of my Cabinet colleagues, Members of the Legislative Assembly, Indigenous Leaders and representatives, GNWT staff, Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty and a number of other representatives from NWT organizations and businesses. Our enhanced presence at Roundup left no doubt that our territory stands united in support of mining and I have full confidence that message was received throughout the event.
The Association for Mineral Exploration Roundup is an excellent opportunity to showcase just how much is going on in our territory, celebrate some of our successes and generate interest in the NWT as a great place to invest in mining. It gave us the opportunity to meet with investors, exploration companies and industry leaders. It also connected us with six junior exploration companies, some who have already begun work in the NWT and others who are seeking more information.
Mr. Speaker, the rich potential of our territory was confirmed early in the week with good news from Evrim Resources and Newmont Mining regarding surface sampling results from their Astro gold project, a discovery that could result in an entirely new gold deposit type for our territory and establish a new gold district in the Sahtu.
Our government was also able to share news. The Socio-Economic Agreement signing that took place on the Association for Mineral Exploration Roundup tradeshow floor between the GNWT and Fortune Minerals marked an important step on the road to the NWT becoming home to Canada’s first primary Cobalt mine.
The Impact Benefit Agreement between NorZinc and the Nahanni Butte Dene Band was another well attended event and demonstrated how together, the GNWT, Indigenous governments and industry, can achieve mutually beneficial success.
Avalon Advance Materials’ announcement of their small scale project with a new partner Cheetah Resources PTY Ltd. was also welcome news.
At NWT Night, I was happy to announce the GNWT’s intention to partner with the Government of Canada to market the Mactung deposit and Cantung mine as Tungsten prices are on-the-rise. Together they offer as close to a turnkey project as exists in our North today. I look forward to getting this project off the ground and finding the right partner to help us get there.
Mr. Speaker, our attendance at the Association for Mineral Exploration Roundup is just one way our government is working together to seek out opportunities to meet with mining and financial companies to increase awareness of the NWT’s significant mineral potential and investment opportunities. With guidance from our Mineral Development Strategy, our government executes a full suite of marketing and outreach activities to tell our story on the global stage.
While many jurisdictions have immense mineral potential, few can boast the holistic, inclusive approach we take to managing and encouraging responsible mineral exploration and development in our territory.
This means that when we tell our story, we get to say our territory offers a low-risk investment jurisdiction that is setting the bar for Indigenous partnership and contributes to improved outcomes for northern communities and meaningful opportunities for Northerners.
As I’ve said before, it’s a good story, one that the mining market is increasingly seeking when making decisions on where to invest.
I’ll continue to use every possible opportunity to share our story and demonstrate that when responsible developers invest in our territory, they can have the confidence in moving world-class projects forward.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.