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Fall 2018 News

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Late June’s announcement of $140 million in funding from the governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories (NWT) to advance the Mackenzie Valley Highway (MVH) holds new promise to advance exploration opportunities and mining in a region that hasn’t seen mining since the 1980s.

The combined federal and NWT government funding of $140 million will pay for construction of the Bear River bridge and 15 km. of all-weather road from Wrigley north to Mount Gaudet, as well as environmental and planning studies to inform final highway routing, design and construction permits.

The Sahtu Region is one of five administrative regions in the NWT, and at 280,238 sq. km. is the size of Labrador. It hosts four geological provinces with diverse mineral potential including lead, zinc, iron, copper, silver, uranium, lithium, cobalt, diamonds, tungsten and even emeralds. Despite this potential, it has seen a disproportionately low amount of mineral staking and exploration over the last 30 years, in large part due to its nearly 100-year reliance on oil and gas production. Most recently, as the petroleum economy has waned, Sahtu leaders have increased their participation at exploration and mining shows to revive flagging mineral investment. This announcement now provides them with a stronger message to help attract investment to the Sahtu region.

NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines President Gary Vivian said: “We truly believe that the MVH, when combined with strong leadership support, marketing, and a strategic plan to welcome investment to the region, the people of the Sahtu will be able to attract new mineral exploration and mining opportunities to that part of the NWT. As our diamond mines are so ably demonstrating in another part of the NWT, there are significant numbers of high paying jobs, billions in northern business and in tax and royalty revenues now flowing to northern communities, and public and Indigenous governments. They’re creating a new economic future for northerners, one that isn’t so reliant on government subsidies from the south.”

Constructing the MVH is but one step in addressing the significant deficit in northern infrastructure.

For more information on the NWT and Nunavut mining industries, visit or contact Tom Hoefer, Executive Director at Tel: 867-873-5281 or email: