The federal government is projecting a drop in exploration and deposit appraisal spending in Northwest Territories for a third consecutive year.

Natural Resources Canada estimates that $70.9 million was spent in NWT in 2017, down $2.1 million, or about three per cent, from 2016 expenditures of $73 million.

Exploration and deposit appraisal spending in NWT has been on the decline since 2014, when expenditures reached $101.7 million.

Projections for Nunavut in 2017 show a steeper drop: investment plummeted more than 23 per cent from the year prior.

Expenditures in Nunuvut are estimated to be $156.7 million in 2017. In 2016 they were $204.5 million.

In a Dec. 21 statement, Gary Vivian, president of the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of mines called the NWT and Nunavut projections “greatly disappointing.”

“We continue to advise governments – both public and Indigenous – that they can turn these statistics around by taking actions to regain investor confidence,” he states.

Vivian goes on to reiterate recommendations the chamber has made in the past for bolstering the NWT’s mining industry.

Namely, he says, settling land claims with Indigenous governments, and allowing development in some of the “30 per cent of lands” that are currently off limits, would help.

He also says that the Mineral Resources Act, which is right now being written, must “improve the investment climate.”

In NWT, a majority of this year’s estimated spending went toward diamonds, says the chamber, with junior companies dominating exploration.

The Yukon was the only territory to see an increase in exploration and deposit appraisals spending (48 per cent). Expenditures in that territory are projected to rise from $90.4 million in 2016 to $133.4 million in 2017.

Investment in Canada as a whole increased by about $372 million (23 per cent), from around $1.6 billion in 2016 to $2 billion in 2017.

Among Canadian provinces and territories, NWT ranks seventh for expenditures in 2017, behind the Yukon (6th) and Nunavut (5th).

Quebec is first, with an estimated $593.3 million spent in that province in 2017.


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