Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut April 04, 2018 - 8:10 am

Mineral exploration in Nunavut projected to plunge in 2018

“Nunavut has to address its land access issues”

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Mineral exploration spending in Nunavut is expected to drop for the third consecutive year in 2018. (IMAGE COURTESY THE N.W.T AND NUNAVUT CHAMBER OF MINES)
Mineral exploration spending in Nunavut is expected to drop for the third consecutive year in 2018. (IMAGE COURTESY THE N.W.T AND NUNAVUT CHAMBER OF MINES)
Protected areas proposed by the Nunavut Planning Commission are marked in green on this map of western Nunavut. (IMAGE COURTESY OF THE NUNAVUT PLANNING COMMISSION)
Protected areas proposed by the Nunavut Planning Commission are marked in green on this map of western Nunavut. (IMAGE COURTESY OF THE NUNAVUT PLANNING COMMISSION)

Mineral exploration is expected to take a steep dive in Nunavut this year, and industry representatives are blaming the territory’s land access issues and land-use planning talks for the decline.

Natural Resources Canada, which tracks how much the mineral exploration industry plans to spend in Canadian jurisdictions each year, released a report last month that projects annual spending of $100.7 million in Nunavut for 2018. That’s a 35 per cent drop from $169.3 million in 2017.

It would also be the third consecutive year that Nunavut has seen a decline in mineral exploration.

The neighbouring Northwest Territories is also expected to see a drop in mineral exploration. The industry expects to spend $81.3 million there in 2018, down 10 per cent from $90.0 million in 2017.

Yet the Yukon expects to see a boost in mineral exploration. It’s expected to see $172.3 million spent, up four per cent from $165.1 million in 2017.

And Canada, as a whole, is projected to see a growth year in mineral exploration, with projected spending of $2.238 billion, up six per cent from $2,111 billion in 2017.

The N.W.T. and Nunavut Chamber of Mines faults land-use planning confusion for the forecasted declines in the jurisdictions it represents.

“Our members tell us that uncertainties and difficulties around accessing land is a major contributor to reduced exploration investment in both territories,” said the chamber’s president, Gary Vivian, in a news release.

“Nunavut has to address its land access issues.”

The chamber is likely referring, in particular, to the draft Nunavut land use plan released in mid-2016.

The plan, if approved, would ban industrial development in big swaths of the territory to protect caribou calving grounds and bird sanctuaries.

“We think it will seriously damage the economy of Nunavut, and limit benefits for Nunavummiut and Nunavut,” chamber representatives wrote about the draft plan in an open letter last year. “We do not think that this approach will give any better protection for wildlife.”

The chamber is far from being alone with these concerns.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the territory’s three regional Inuit organizations have similarly denounced the draft plan, fearing that it will hurt economic development on Inuit-owned lands.

These Inuit groups have also expressed concern that the draft plan, if enacted, could thwart the proposed Kivalliq-Manitoba road route and the Grays Bay road and port scheme.

The Government of Nunavut has shared similar reservations, saying that the protected areas will stifle economic development in Western Nunavut.

Nunavut’s Conservative senator, Dennis Patterson, also dumped on the plan, which he said “everybody except the World Wildlife Fund is seriously dissatisfied with.”

Following widespread criticism of the draft plan, the Nunavut Planning Commission postponed plans to hold regional hearings in the Kitikmeot and Kivalliq in mid-2017.

New hearing dates still haven’t been announced.

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(5) Comments:

#1. Posted by not as the crow fly on April 04, 2018

“Nunavut has to address its land access issues.”  The decision Nunavut has made already is not what you want to hear, so change to what mining want to hear?

Why not a longer, more expensive, road route going around the calving grounds?  Build the tracks on a longer route around the calving grounds and when mining has emptied Nunavut of trillions worth of rich deposits, the roads and railway can start to take tourists on a journey.  A longer road and railway route is more expensive and is also the investment into the future of Nunavut.

Hunting caribou, whales, and polar bears in Nunavut has gone to a tag system with the numbers to hunt.  A very concern to protect the life of country food for the future.

Mining will have to address a better way to work around land access issues or the decision for tags will become void.  The future of Nunavut will become a land mass of crater holes, drained lakes, extinct caribou, polar bear, and whales all because of a cheap approach to mining.

#2. Posted by economy or dead end on April 05, 2018

In Canada are forest lands where wild life thrive and area hunters harvest food.  The land is protected from urban sprawl and development of industries. Down the road from the forest are highways leading to communities, towns, and cities.  City people drive the long highways to visit the forests, camp along lakes and return home with photographs of their time away from city life.  A line was drawn to prevent development and preserve wild life.  In the end, the economy outside of cities grow…

#3. Posted by economy or dead end on April 05, 2018

... Areas in Nunavut are under pressure to give up on wild life and give mining control over that land.  A day arrives, that area of mining comes to and end.  Economy?  Without long roads and railways around the land, there will be no country food to eat and a road that leads to a dead end where mining had left a useless footprint.

“There can be positive outcomes through a well-designed process and industry is engaged to see this take place between all parties involved.” 12 May 2017 Nunatsiaq News.

#4. Posted by Abraham Tagalik on April 05, 2018

The Nunavut Inuit orgs have become pro-development. Forget about the caribou. mining comes first. Who is speaking for our animals?

#5. Posted by News Flash on April 05, 2018

#4 You ask “Who is speaking for our animals?”

Paul Okalik and the WWF

http://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/65674ex-nunavut_premier_joins_world_wildlife_fund-canada/

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