Chamber’s Message to Senate’s Special Arctic Committee: “Rejuvenate a Northern Mining Vision”

13 September 2018

(Yellowknife, NT – September 13, 2018) Northern mining today is creating meaningful benefits for northerners and Canadians, however with only six mines operating in this vast and northern one third of Canada, the country is missing great opportunities to do more. This was a key message delivered by the Chamber of Mines to the Government of Canada’s Special Senate Committee on the Arctic on Monday in Yellowknife.

“Mineral development is the biggest contributor to our northern economies, providing significant Indigenous and northern benefits, and also creating huge returns for the provinces and Federal government,” said NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines President Gary Vivian. “But our minerals industry could be doing so much more if there was an exciting new vision and a robust action plan to support it. We told the Senators that the proposed Arctic Policy Framework and the Canada Minerals and Metals Plan could be just the tools to do that.”  

Currently, the NWT and Nunavut host only six operating mines with an overall footprint of much less than one hundredth of one per cent of the area of the two territories, an area the size of Europe. From this small footprint, the territories’ mines have collectively created nearly 70,000 person years of jobs and $24 billion in spending since 1996, with billions of dollars paid in taxes and royalties to public and Indigenous governments. “Our industry has accepted governments’ invitation to invest in exploration and mining to turn rocks into benefits, but the high costs and land access challenges are especially daunting in the North” said Vivian.

The Chamber’s brief to the Committee explains that access to land for exploration and mining is growing restrictive, and in the NWT not all land claims have been settled. In the face of Canada’s largest infrastructure deficit, mines today must provide their own transportation with roads, sea ports and airports, and supply their own electricity with diesel generators and wind. “We reminded Senators that this was not always the case, that Canada was once a strong participant in northern mineral development, providing financial support for transportation and power infrastructure and even exploration,” said Vivian. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a 40-year gap in Federal partnership, and now need to make up for lost time.”

The Chamber’s recommendations to Senators include urging Canada to strengthen its support for mining, to provide significant long term annual investment into game-changing infrastructure, to improve access to land, to double the mineral exploration tax credit, and to remove the carbon tax on the diesel-dependent north until viable alternatives are available. “We really need help from the Federal government – all governments for that matter – if we are to successfully unlock and grow the benefits of mining,” says Vivian.

The full presentation, Rejuvenating a Mining Vision for the North, is posted on the Chamber of Mines web site.

For more information on the NWT and Nunavut mining industries, please visit the Chamber of Mines website at or contact Tom Hoefer, Executive Director at Tel: 867-873-5281 or email: