Chamber makes Innovative Proposal to Encourage Investment in Proposed NWT Mineral Resources Act
9 May 2019
(Yellowknife, NT – May 9, 2019) The NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines has presented government with two innovative actions under the proposed NWT Mineral Resources Act (MRA) that would simultaneously encourage investment and increase benefits to people and communities of the Northwest Territories (NWT). Chamber President Gary Vivian delivered the message to the Standing Committee on Economic Development and the Environment at hearings in Yellowknife last night.
“This first ever Mineral Resources Act in our history provides a tremendous opportunity to rejuvenate our maturing mining industry and turn our ailing exploration investment around. This will result in more benefits to the people and communities of the territory,” said Vivian.
To do this, the Chamber recommends that government share a percentage of annual mineral exploration investment with Indigenous governments whose traditional lands are explored; and when this results in a new mine discovery that government share an additional percentage of the new royalties collected with those same Indigenous governments. These new benefits would be in addition to existing royalty benefits under land claim and devolution agreements, and be in addition to benefits under agreements that Indigenous governments already negotiate themselves with developers.
As proposed in its new “Part 5: Benefits for People and Communities”, the MRA proposes to simply legislate those very benefit agreements that Indigenous governments already negotiate themselves with mineral developers. “We’re concerned that this could actually add uncertainty,” says Vivian “and perversely drive benefits away from the NWT. Our two recommendations, on the other hand, could really make a positive difference.”
The Chamber recommends the government send the troublesome section of the Bill back for further study by public and indigenous governments with industry. “Collectively, we can create an improved part 5 that will provide an incentive for mineral investment and development and increased benefit to northerners. Currently it does not do that.”
Northerners are relying on the NWT’s strong mineral industry benefits to continue. Over the last 20 years, the NWT diamond mines have propelled Canada to third place in world production. In so doing, they have created tens of thousands of person years of employment, and billions of dollars in business and tax revenues, all shared with Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments and residents. People want to see the industry rejuvenated.
For more information on the NWT and Nunavut mining industries, please visit the website at www.miningnorth.com or contact Tom Hoefer, Executive Director at Tel: 867-873-5281 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.