The City of Yellowknife, in Canada’s Northwest Territories (N.W.T.), was given a grim update on the state of the territory’s mining industry during a Governance and Priorities Committee meeting on Monday afternoon.
Tom Hoefer, executive director of the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, says the future looks bleak for the industry.
“The minerals industry in the North is not healthy at this time and that will have effects on the city,” said Hoefer. “This is the time when the industry is maturing… they [the city] can actually help sustain the industry.”
Private companies who once established mines in the Northwest Territories, in Canada’s central Arctic, are pulling out of the area, said Hoefer. He cited high power costs regulated by the territory and unsettled land claims as the main reasons why large corporations do not want to stay.
“Exploration is really the driver in finding new mines and we’ve slipped up on the exploration side, ” he said. “We haven’t been exploring these last 12 years like we should have been and it takes about 20 years to bring a new mine on stream.”
Desperate for solutions
Gary Vivian is the president of the chamber. During Hoefer’s presentation, he echoed the industry’s desperation to find a solution which would involve bringing back investors.
“It’s not a mining cycle, it’s a mineral industries cycle, and without investment the mining industry will die.”
The chamber of mines was approached by the City of Yellowknife to make a presentation in front of council on the future of the industry.
Statistics and information from the presentation will be taken into consideration as the city develops an economic strategy.
“With our strategic planning coming up we wanted to get an update on the industry and where certain projects are at,” Mayor Rebecca Alty said. “With the number of residents that are involved in mining and have their homes located in Yellowknife… and then there’s the businesses that support mining and the taxes they pay.”
During the presentation, Hoefer said the industry is gearing itself toward reducing its carbon footprint.
Alty said the city could help, but first it needs to develop the capacity to do so.
Related links from around the North:
Canada: Boom times ahead in Canada’s Nunavut and Yukon territories, report says, CBC News
Norway: Iron mines in Arctic Norway could soon re-open, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Russian miners dig deeper into vast Kola nickel reserve, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Iron mine in northern Sweden to restart production, The Independent Barents Observer
United States: America’s most toxic site is in the Alaskan Arctic, Cryopolitics Blog