Exploration expenditures continue to decline

28 February 2020

(Yellowknife, NT – February 28, 2020) Mineral exploration and deposit appraisal spending is projected to decline in all three territories in 2020, according to recently released federal government revised projections.

Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures, by Province and Territory provides the following preliminary estimates for spending in 2020:

  • $52.1 million in NWT, down $14.2 million (21.4%) from $66.3 million in 2019
  • $115.7 million in Nunavut, down $7.5 million (6.1%) from $123.2 million in 2019
  • $97.9 million in Yukon, down $41.7 million (29.9%) from $139.6 million in 2019
  • $2,132.8 million in Canada, up $45.5 million (2.2%) from $2,087.3 million in 2019

Under these spending projections, NWT exploration would be at its lowest amount in a decade. Nunavut spending would be over twice that of the NWT but would drop to its lowest amount since 2004. Year over year, Yukon spending is projected to decline by the largest percentage and be at its lowest level since 2016.

From a competitiveness perspective, projections would see NWT’s share of Canadian exploration investment fall to 2.4 per cent from 3.2 per cent. Nunavut’s share would decrease slightly to 5.4 per cent from 5.9 per cent, according to NRCan’s projections.

“Stronger exploration is extremely important to sustain the North’s mining industry, and its contributions to employment, business and various tax and royalty benefits,” said Ken Armstrong, NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines President. “We’ve been discussing declining exploration investment with governments and other partners and we are optimistic that with our collective efforts, we can take actions to help turn this around.”

Charts of historical and projected expenditures in northern Canada are in the Backgrounder (see below), and the Chamber has summarized NRCan’s complete data in chart form here.

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: executivedirector@miningnorth.com.