Ottawa to set up geology research agency in Iqaluit this summer

Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office to provide up-to-date geological information to communities, exploration companies and land-use planners in the new territory


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — Nunavut and the federal government have agreed to jointly fund the operations of special geological agency for the next four years.

The Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office is set to begin work this summer, with contributions from the Government of Nunavut, the federal Geological Survey of Canada and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.

“Part of the rationale is that Nunavut as a new territory needs to make and use geoscience information to further its own sustainable development,” Janet King, a senior manager with the Geological Survey of Canada said.

“We view the geoscience office as one of the steps toward building that kind of capacity.”

The Nunavut government has budgeted $450,000 this year for the program office, which will be located in Iqaluit.

A chief geologist for the territory has been hired, and the office will eventually be staffed with a geographical information systems manager and a clerk, King said. Ottawa’s contribution is “more than $500,000” a year, she added.

The priorities of the geoscience office will be set by a board of directors made up of representatives from the Government of Nunavut, DIAND, the Geological Survey of Canada and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

Having a geoscience office in Nunavut should encourage and enable more geological survey work to be done in the territory. King said the various activities of the geoscience office will also provide opportunities for training, particularly in geographical information system (GIS) management.

“Systems people are in tremendous demand across Canada and are key people in any knowledge-based nation,” King said.

The geoscience office will work closely with Nunavut Arctic College, King said, to offer assignment opportunities and formal training in this field.

Information on geology throughout the territory will be made public and is expected to be of use to communities, land-use planning authorites, government and industry.

“I think any of the geological field crews will likely have training opportunities on the crews themselves and I know there are some linkages being developed with prospectors’ courses that are active within Nunavut.”

As a source of up-to-date geological data, the geoscience office will be of particular interest to exploration companies interested in investing in Nunavut.

“I think this will be one of the key activities that the office will perform,” King said.

Work carried out by the office will not displace any existing geological field work already planned in Nunavut by the Geological Survey, King said.

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