Chamber of Mines COVID-19 Update
11 April 2020
The COVID-19 crisis is creating significant challenges for all Canadians, most importantly from a health perspective, but also from an economic perspective. Governments across the country are taking steps to get us through this with minimal damage, and it is important that we all do our part.
Our mining members continue to use diligence in operating our mines so as to meet public health requirements and to protect workers and communities. Virtually all have reduced their workforces and sent their small northern community employees home for protection, have put into place detailed health protocols, and have lengthened their work rotations. In some cases, production has been reduced, and is also being affected by significantly lower market prices and higher operating costs. One mine has stopped production.
Exploration has ground to a halt in both territories as companies take actions to protect their workers, and as financial markets dry up.
The Chamber of Mines continues to be busy helping to identify actions for governments to take to minimize economic damage – in the short term by quickly helping the northern minerals industry through the crisis, and for the longer term, thinking of ideas on how to repair and rejuvenate the northern economy. The Chamber has had meetings and corresponded with the Governments of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, the Federal Ministries of Northern Affairs, Natural Resources, Crown Indigenous Relations, and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, Territorial Members of Parliament and Senators, as well as ongoing involvement with the Canadian Mineral Industry Federation.
We would like to share with our members, and those in the public who recognize the value of our industry, some of the supportive actions taken by governments and the Chamber to date. We will update this from time to time as we learn more.
- March 23: GNWT ITI announced various supports including extending the deadline for the MIP exploration incentive, and the NWT Mining Recorder’s Office has protected mineral claims and leases for 90 days.
- April 6: The Yukon Chamber of Mines together with our NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines shared industry’s concerns on gaps in Federal benefits packages in a letter to Federal Northern Affairs Minister Vandal.
- April 7: Joint letter of support from Det’on Cho Corporation and Tlicho Investment Corporation for the Chambers of Mines letter
- April 8: The Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce endorsed the Chambers of Mines letter for supportive actions.
- April 9: The NWT Government recognized the importance of the industry in a media statement supporting the minerals industry and our Chambers of Mines letter: GNWT Supports Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon Chamber of Mines letter submitted to the Federal Government
- April 9: The Senators from all three territories submitted a Senators’ letter to Finance Minister Morneau recommending changes to the proposed wage subsidy Bill so that it does not exclude major industries and sectors in the territories, and throughout rural and northern Canada.
We will continue our efforts in both territories to seek supportive government actions to protect and eventually rejuvenate the minerals industry.
Be safe, stay healthy!
NWT & NUNAVUT CHAMBER OF MINES