Updated statistics continue to project exploration down in NWT and Nunavut

21 December 2017

(Yellowknife, NT – December 21, 2017) Updated Federal government projections for 2017 mineral exploration and deposit appraisal spending continue to project decreases in Nunavut and NWT, but a significant increase in Yukon. Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Exploration and Deposit Appraisal Expenditures, by Province and Territory provides the following new spending intentions for 2017:

  • $70.9 million in NWT, a decrease of $2.1 million (3%) from 2016 expenditures of $73.0 million;
  • $156.7 million in Nunavut, a decrease of $47.8 million (23%) from $204.5 million in 2016;
  • $133.4 million in Yukon, an increase of $43.0 million (48%) from $90.4 million in 2016; and
  • $2,000.5 million in Canada, an increase of $372 million (23%) from $1,628.8 million for 2016.

“Exploration investment is returning to Canada, and Yukon is projected to see a major increase over last year. It is greatly disappointing, however, to see investment in both NWT and Nunavut projected to continue to fall, and significantly now in Nunavut,” said Gary Vivian, President of the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines.

“We continue to advise governments – both public and Indigenous – that they can turn these statistics around by taking actions to regain investor confidence,” Vivian added. “To be specific, in the NWT work on the proposed Mineral Resources Act must be to improve the investment climate. Settling long-outstanding land claims, and reducing the over 30 per cent of lands off limits to development would also help, as would proactive marketing to investors by Indigenous governments. In Nunavut, we see growing concerns over land access on some Inuit owned lands, and arising from a confusing land use planning process and these need to be addressed. And of course, investment in infrastructure is most welcome in both territories.”

Charts of historical and projected expenditures in northern Canada are in the Backgrounder attached.

NRCan’s complete data is available here and shows that the majority of spending in the NWT in 2017 is projected to be for diamonds and in Nunavut for precious metals. Junior companies in the NWT are projected to dominate exploration spending, while in Nunavut the senior, mining companies are expected to spend the majority. Most of the spending in both Nunavut and NWT is projected to be on grassroots exploration, with the remainder on deposit appraisal. As a share of projected Canadian investment, Nunavut remains in fifth place, the Yukon remains in sixth place, and the NWT remains in seventh place.