Thank you, I’m pleased to be here today to speak to you about the economic potential of the Northwest Territories in Canada’s Arctic.
The Northwest Territories is home to a rich storehouse of natural resources that are still largely undeveloped. In our territory we have a wealth of resources, including oil, gas, hydroelectricity, gold, bismuth, diamonds and rare earth deposits. We also have some of the best wild fur in the world.
Developing those resources responsibly to create prosperity for investors and NWT residents is a priority for my government and a special focus for Canada during its chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
One of the paths to prosperity for our territory lies in creating sustainable Arctic communities that provide economic opportunities for their residents.
That includes supporting and promoting the traditional activities – like fur harvesting – that have long been a source of wealth for the Aboriginal people that make their home in the Northwest Territories.
While fur continues to be an important part of our economy, energy and mineral resources are the major source of our wealth now.
I’m talking about billions of dollars’ worth of diamonds. We have mines in full production with more diamonds yet to be discovered. Gold has been mined for decades, with more mines planned in the next few years. Rare earth minerals aren’t so rare in the Northwest Territories. They are available for responsible, sustainable development.
We have zinc, silver, lead and diamond mines expected to begin construction within a year. We have well-trained miners ready to work and a young population that will be looking for new career opportunities.
More oil and clean natural gas deposits are being found every year. Right now, I’m especially excited about the shale oil play in the central Mackenzie.
We also have a great deal of potential in the Arctic offshore and in the southern parts of our territory which includes approximately 16.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.2 billion barrels of oil have been discovered in the NWT.
An estimated 81.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and nearly seven billion barrels of oil remain waiting to be tapped.
The Mackenzie River offers another source of potential energy and another investment opportunity for China. The NWT has some of the best undeveloped hydroelectric resources in North America there are eight smaller rivers with hydro potential in our territory.
That’s clean energy that would supply a hungry market to the south of us. It would be a long-term investment with significant upfront capital costs. 50 to 100 or more years of low operating and maintenance costs will provide an excellent return on investment.
The Northwest Territories welcomes foreign investment in our territory. Our government provides any company looking to invest with general support and information.
We also support the resource exploration and development sector through the Northwest Territories Geoscience Office. The office does geoscience research and analysis of mineral and petroleum resources. With this information, developers can assess and evaluate areas with high resource potential.
The Northwest Territories is a land rich in resources and potential. I hope that you will seriously consider the opportunities available to you there. I know you won’t be disappointed.