Geoscience Forum The Chamber organizes the Geoscience Forum, the largest northern minerals conference ‘North of 60’ each November. Held in Yellowknife, the GeoScience Forum provides an opportunity for the industry to catch up on mining and exploration developments, new geological research results, and issues the north is facing. The Forum provides a venue for sharing new ideas in the minerals industry, new sites being discovered, and what new technologies are being developed. Events include informative talks and meetings, a trade show, and lots of opportunities for conference networking. Web Page
Nunavut Mining Symposium The Chamber also participates in the organization of the Nunavut Mining Symposium held annually in Iqaluit, Nunavut. This Symposium attracts representatives professionals from Inuit organizations, regulatory agencies, various levels of government, and exploration and mining companies. Events include conference sessions, a one-day trade show, hospitality suites, entertainment, and a gala dinner and awards evening to celebrate the mining and exploration industry in Nunavut. Web Page
NWT MAX Awards
2019 MAX Awards nominations now open! Click here for more.
----------------------------------------- 2018 MAX Awards ----------------------------------------
In 2018, the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines announced the second annual MAX Awards recipients. MAX Award recipients, recognized for their excellence in mining and exploration in the Northwest Territories, have all played an enormous role in responsible and successful resource development; generating opportunities and demonstrating leadership in their respective categories. Their contributions include finding and developing resources, engaging with the public and governments, ensuring Indigenous participation, creating jobs and business benefits, and training northerners, all of which adds to the well-being of the Northwest Territories. The awards, a partnership of the Chamber of Mines and the Government of the Northwest Territories Industry, Tourism & Investment Department, were presented November 22 in Yellowknife.
The 2018 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
Click here for the awards banquet slides highlighting the recipients, with Keynote Speaker Robin Goad from Fortune Minerals.
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.
Click here for the awards banquet slides highlighting the recipients, with Keynote Speaker Robin Goad from Fortune Minerals.
----------------------------------------- 2017 Inuagural MAX Awards ----------------------------------------
The 2017 MAX Awards coincided with the Chamber of Mines’ 50th anniversary and the 45th Annual Geoscience Forum, and were presented Thursday, November 16, 2017 at the Explorer Hotel in Yellowknife. Below are the 2017 recipients.
Recipients of the 2017 MAX Awards were:
- Distinguished Service – Aurora Geosciences
- Economic Leadership – Ekati Diamond Mine and Diavik Diamond Mine
- Environmental & Social Responsibility – Diavik Diamond Mine and TerraX Minerals
- Indigenous Achievement Awards – Joe Rabesca and Darrell Beaulieu
- Special Achievement Awards – Mine Training Society and Altaf Lakhani
Indigenous Achievement Award - Joe Rabesca
This award celebrates and recognizes NWT Indigenous leaders, organizations, or companies in the mining or mineral exploration sector who have demonstrated excellence in any of the following areas:
- Best practice
- Capacity-building in their home community or region
As Tlicho Grand Chief in the mid-1990’s, Rabesca recognized that resource development presented an enormous opportunity for the Tlicho.
Exciting diamond discoveries had just been made on Tlicho traditional lands. Resource development was on their doorstep, and their recently-settled land claim would mean more control of land and resource management. Joe took the lead on negotiating benefits with Ekati and Diavik for the Tlicho, and forging a way forward for the Tlicho Investment Corporation. Ultimately, this work would result in contracts in the hundreds of millions, and countless wellpaying jobs for his people.
Distinguished Service Award - Aurora Geosciences
This award recognizes an individual or organization who has achieved one or more of the following:
Made a substantial contribution to mineral exploration and mining development in the NWT over a number of years.
Made outstanding contributions to the NWT minerals industry in the fields of:
- Geochemistry research
- Any other related activities
Aurora Geosciences earned the Distinguished Service Award for their leading work in geoscience — including training hundreds of geoscience professionals who cut their teeth with the company over decades. Their story has deep roots in the NWT, and their impact has been felt from Nunavut to Alaska as leaders in their field across the North.
Environmental and Social Responsibility Awards
Environmental Responsibility - Diavik Diamond Mine
This award honours outstanding achievements in two areas:
- Outstanding initiative, leadership, stewardship and accomplishment in protecting and preserving the natural environment
- Establishing good community relations during an exploration program or operation of a mine
Nominations may be for an individual or organization.
Diavik was recognized for reducing greenhouse gas using wind power at their remote mining operation.
This included the innovative step of constructing four turbines to help reduce diesel use and reduce their carbon footprint.
This was a globally innovative solution — they operate the world’s northernmost diesel-wind hybrid power system.
Social Responsibility - TerraX Minerals
TerraX Minerals, a junior exploration company focused on its Yellowknife City Gold Project, was honoured for building great relationships with communities.
From sponsoring training, to community outreach, TerraX has made the effort to involve communities throughout their exploration program.
Special Achievement Award - NWT Mine Training Society
This award recognizes exceptional contributions to the NWT minerals industries.
This could include long-term contributions, cutting-edge innovations, brilliant leadership, or any other contributions deemed worthy of celebration.
The Mine Training Society was recognized for getting countless NWT residents the skills they need to succeed in mining — and beyond.
Since 2003, their partnership with the GNWT, Government of Canada, and mineral explorers and developers has provided training and career counselling services responsive to the business landscape.
Special Achievement Award - Altaf Lakhani
As a leader at the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), Altaf Lakhani dedicated 30 years to working with northern and Indigenous communities to
successfully promote economic opportunities. In the mining world, he’s best known as the architect of the Community Readiness Initiative. This program was developed to aid communities across the North to help them capitalize on opportunities associated with mining and exploration.
Economic Leadership Award - Ekati Diamond Mine and Diavik Diamond Mine
This award highlights work which has made significant contributions to the NWT’s economy in mineral exploration or development recently, or historically.
Eligible nominees may be:
- Service companies
This progress can be related to the development of a specific project or to the overall activities of the nominee.
These diamond mines were recognized for the pivotal role they play in the NWT economy. This includes $14 billion in spending on northern business since 1996. Almost half was spent on Indigenous-owned companies. This has meant 28,000 person-years of employment to northern residents, and several hundred million dollars in taxes and royalty payments to governments.
NWT Mining Week
Mining Week in Yellowknife is a promotional event sponsored by the Chamber, to celebrate our industry with the public. Mining Week - June 2-9 in 2018 - allows us to show the public some of what we do and how our industry benefits northerners and Canadians in general.
Several events - free and open to everyone - are held, including the annual Chamber of Mines Miner's Picnic on Saturday June 2 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Yellowknife Multiplex fieldhouse parking area. The picnic coincides with the 61st annual WSCC mine rescue competition.Other events during the week included rock walks showcasing local geology, Farmers Market geology tent, Northwest Territories Geological Survey tour and Resources and Energy Development Information (REDI) event. Poster here!