Chamber of Mines Submission on Bill 34, the NWT Mineral Resources Act
24 May 2019
On May 17, the Chamber of Mines submitted its thoughts and recommendations on Bill 34, the NWT Mineral Resources Act to the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Economy. The full act can be found here: https://www.assembly.gov.nt.ca/sites/default/files/bill_34.pdf.
The Chamber's key recommendations are the following:
- Recommendation #1: Send Part 5 back for further study and more comprehensive discussion with industry and investors to reduce its risks, and to consider other approaches to provide benefits to people and communities. Pre-eminent among these innovations is our recommendation to share other mineral industry revenues with Indigenous governments on whose land exploration and mining occur.
- Recommendation #2: Involve industry in the further study. The Intergovernmental Council established under the Northwest Territories Intergovernmental Agreement on Lands and Resources Management was provided several duties, including these two related to the MRA:
- address legislative requirements for benefit agreements relating to resource development; and
- review and develop any proposed changes to the [GNWT] legislation including the development of new resource management legislation.
This wording has enough latitude that other methods, other wording, and other benefit agreement models can be found that could more effectively, and with low risk, create benefits for people and communities. Despite several attempts, our Chamber has not been granted opportunity to meet with the Council to discuss other opportunities and concerns. We would very much like to offer our expertise in the discussion on our industry.
- Recommendation #3: Maintain the other Parts of the Bill, particularly those that maintain the land tenure and royalty collection systems found in the current Mining Regulations under the Northwest Territories Lands Act. These aspects have been in place for a long time, and fulfill a critically important job in providing investment certainty.
- Recommendation #4: Draft regulations in concert with the Act so as to provide the needed clarity of the Act’s intent. Many members have observed the dizzying references to regulations still to be written. Section 111 describes some of those. Some clauses in the Act are virtually indecipherable in their intent without seeing regulations.
- Recommendation #5: We ask the Committee and the government to look at the big picture, including how other Bills like the Protected Areas Act will work against efforts to increase investor confidence under the MRA. With this first ever made-in-the-NWT minerals legislation, it is important that the 18th Legislative Assembly takes meaningful actions to increase investor confidence and to bolster the ailing exploration and maturing mining industries in the face of other initiatives that could compromise it.
- Recommendation #6: Take time in the process. Many members have observed that the rapid speed with which this act and others are moving so as to be finalized before the impending election. We certainly believe there is a need for speed in rejuvenating mineral investment in the territory, given it has languished for over 12 years, however we recommend that GNWT take the time for fulsome discussion with our industry to de-risk and improve Part 5 of the Bill.
Read the full submission at the link below.
If you feel you also have similar concerns, we recommend you contact your Member of the Legislative Assembly as soon as possible.