NWT Mining And Exploration (MAX) Award Recipients Announced

16 November 2018

Yellowknife, NT, The NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, in partnership with the Government of the Northwest Territories, is extremely pleased to announce the 2018 Northwest Territories Mining and Exploration (MAX) Award recipients.

NWT MAX awards recognize individuals, organizations and accomplishments that have made major contributions to a variety of aspects of the Northwest Territories’ minerals industry, the largest private sector contributor to our economy.

This year’s MAX Awards recipients are:

  • Distinguished Service: Gren Thomas – explorer and mine finder
  • Economic Leadership: De Beers Canada – Gahcho Kué diamond mine operator
  • Environmental & Social Responsibility: Ni Hadi Xa – environmental monitor for Gahcho Kué mine
  • Indigenous Achievement: Cece Hodgson-McCauley – development & community supporter
  • Special Achievement (shared):

Diavik Dike Design, Construction and Operations 
Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Ice Road

For more on these outstanding MAX Awards recipients, see Backgrounder attached.

The NWT MAX awards is a partnership between the Chamber of Mines and the GNWT’s Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment.

The awards banquet will be held November 22 at the Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife. Keynote speaker at the event will be President and CEO Robin Goad from Fortune Minerals, developers of the proposed NICO mine.

To attend the 2018 NWT MAX Awards, please visit the 2018 Geoscience Forum website here and select ‘Register For Events Only’.


For more information on the NWT and Nunavut mining industries, please visit www.miningnorth.com or www.miningnorthworks.com or contact Tom Hoefer, Executive Director at Tel: 867-873-5281 or email: executivedirector@miningnorth.com.



The NWT Mining and Exploration Awards – celebrating excellence in mining and exploration

Distinguished Service Award: Gren Thomas

Gren Thomas arrived in Yellowknife over 50 years ago. Since then, he has explored for mineral deposits in the NWT and Nunavut, heading up several companies including Highwood Resources, Aber Resources, Navigator Resources, Stornoway and North Arrow Minerals. Most importantly, Gren’s efforts have resulted in new and significant mineral discoveries, including the Diavik mine, Thor Lake (now the Nechalacho project), Sunrise base metal, and others that may one day become mines.

Economic Leadership: De Beers Canada

De Beers Canada has contributed over $7 billion to the Canadian economy, including $2.1 billion to the NWT economy. Since 2005, $3.5 billion has been spent with Indigenous and NWT businesses through Snap Lake and Gahcho Kué mines. This represents 78 per cent of De Beers Canada’s total spend to build and operate these mines. Over the life of the Gahcho Kué mine, a joint venture with Mountain Province Diamonds, De Beers Canada expects to contribute a further $5.3 billion to the NWT economy.

Environmental & Social Responsibility: Ni Hadi Xa, monitoring of Gahcho Kué Mine

Ni Hadi Xa is a cooperative of five Indigenous parties and De Beers that focuses on traditional knowledge and supports Indigenous community participation in environmental monitoring and management programs at the Gahcho Kué diamond mine. Ni Hadi Xa staff includes a minesite environment monitor working with the mine’s environmental team to provide real-time feedback to improve practices and maintain strong communication.  Ni Hadi Xa’s on-the-land program supports Indigenous people to travel to, and observe the region around the mine, practising traditional activities. 

Indigenous Achievement: Cece Hodgson-McCauley (posthumous)

A tireless ‘woman warrior’, Cece Hodgson-McCauley ardently advocated for completion of the Mackenzie Valley Highway as she understood its potential to advance economic development and assist northern communities. She was a selfless and tireless supporter of her people, seeking change and working hard towards stronger northern communities. She supported responsible resource development and the jobs and business benefits it would bring. Through a weekly column in News/North, she passionately shared her thoughts about the importance of economic development and government’s role in it.

Special Achievement (shared):

Diavik Dike Design, Construction and Operations

For its outstanding engineering and construction success, the first of Diavik’s three rockfill dikes – named A154 for the orebodies it surrounded – received the 2003 Canadian engineering profession’s national award. The structure allowed safe open pit and underground mining of world class diamond deposits discovered under Lac de Gras. Using the same award-winning approach, Diavik built a second dike for mining of the A418 orebody, and in 2018 completed its third and final dike to mine the A21 orebody. Diavik’s dike technology has allowed access to valuable resources that have generated significant benefits for the North and its people.

Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Ice Road

The Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road is the most unique winter road in the world, being the longest road built over ice-covered lakes linked by land portages. It was developed from a road pioneered in 1962 to the historic Tundra gold mine. In the early days, the ice road supported 130-150 truckloads hauling up to 2,500 tonnes. Twenty years ago, a Joint Venture under the diamond took over the safe construction and operations of what has become a world-famous ice-road. The largest season saw 330,000 tonnes of freight safely trucked north in nearly 11,000 truckloads in its two-month season – over 100 times the annual tonnage hauled in its early days. Without this unique technology the gold and diamond mines hundreds of kilometres north of Yellowknife would not have been possible. The ice road has helped unlock significant benefits to the North, to Indigenous communities and to Canada.