The 47th annual Geoscience Forum opened Tuesday which brought hundreds of delegates from near and far to a three day slate of activities involving the mineral industry.
Tom Hoefer, executive director of the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines said there were about 650 delegates registered as of yesterday and said that figure is about on par with last year’s figures, which eventually saw more than 730.
He said the trade show, which is at the Multiplex, has more than 90 exhibitors and that the three theatres at the Capitol Theatre were all filled with speakers for the entire event.
Among some of the new features this year include a GNWT Coffee with Cabinet which will allow industry representatives and other delegates people to meet the newly elected executive council since the October election.
Hoefer said he has been involved with the annual event in one capacity or another since 1990. As in other years, he said the event is intended to support the northern mineral industry and share knowledge among professionals.
“I think it is important to invite people here to help us work on our industry,” he said, pointing out that attendees are always interested in new discoveries, advances in science, potential for mines and new findings of resources. The sharing of new knowledge leads to people becoming re-energized and reinvested in new areas for mineral-related study in the NWT, he said.
“It is critically important to have a number of industry professionals up here and sharing information. Our leading industry has been flagging for 12 years and we have really been trying to turn that around.”
Hoefer said some of the highlights of the event include keynote presentations Dr. Bill Arnott of the University of Ottawa Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. He is presenting “Planar Stratifcation- the threat that binds the shallow- and deep-marine sedimentary records and unconventional petroleum reservoirs” at the Capital Theatre Wednesday afternoon at 2:45 p.m.
Dr. Grant Zazula, a paleontologist with the Government of Yukon, will present the Chalres Camsell Public Lecture Wednesday night at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre at 7:30 p.m. His talk is called “Yukon’s fossil rush: ice Age mammals from Canada’s North.”
Hoefer said he was encouraged by Indigenous government representatives speaking this year to present their mineral strategies – noting presenters from both the Gwich’in Tribal Council and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation.
Hoefer also noted Katrina Nokleby, minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment and Infrastructure who officially opened the forum on Tuesday morning.
“Minister Nokleby opened the Geoscience Forum and people had a chance to see her in person and hear some her thoughts,” he said. “She is a professional engineer and has experience working with industry and Indigenous groups and she gave the impression that ‘I get it and understand what industry needs’ which was encouraging.”
Many delegates were seen mingling and networking Tuesday afternoon at Capitol Theatre including Tim Ensom, who is working on a graduate degree in permafrost studies at Wilfred Laurier University and Ed Grozic, a Calgary based consulting engineer with Tetra Tech Canada.
“I have been coming here for a few years now,” said Ensom. “This year it so far seems to be a really interesting and broad conference with lots of really interesting science. And highly relevant information for industry and for climate change and adaptation.”
Grozic added that he enjoyed the networking aspect of the event.
“It is a really good opportunity to hear from mining clients and other infrastructure clients – like the GNWT – what their plans are for the near term and the long-term (in the mineral industry),” he said.
“There is really good discussion about the need for long term vision for the Northwest Territories and the GNWT wanting to build infrastructure to support mining industry in the long-term.”