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By Rose Ragsdale
For Mining News 

New agency for 'North' awards key grants

Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory to benefit from C$2.7 million in mining research, business development grants


Last updated 10/25/2009 at Noon

Canada's new economic development agency for the Far North has awarded a new round of mining research and business development grants, providing significant funding to key projects in Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory.

Known as the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency or CanNor, the agency is the outgrowth of the Canadian government's new Economic Action Plan and is designed to encourage future investments in resource exploration in the country's three northwestern territories. CanNor is responsible for coordinating and delivering federal economic development activities in the territories, and for policy, research and advocacy. Promoting social and economic development in the North is one of the four pillars of the Government of Canada's integrated Northern Strategy.

The 2009-10 geoscience projects are funded through the Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development program, which falls under the mandate of CanNor and focuses on long-term economic development in the three territories. Canada's Economic Action Plan has renewed SINED funding with C$90 million over five years, split equally among the three territories.

In Nunavut, the federal government awarded a total of C$1.1 million to six geoscience research projects targeted for completion during the 2009 field season. The Government of Nunavut's Department of Economic Development and Transportation is overseeing the 2009-10 geoscience research programs, and the work will be conducted by the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office in cooperation with the Geological Survey of Canada.

"Geological mapping and research in Nunavut are crucial to maintain the mining industry's interest in exploring for resources in our territory," said Minister Peter Taptuna of the Government of Nunavut's Department of Economic Development and Transportation. "The Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office's work will also contribute to developing new opportunities in our communities. This funding is vital."

Focus on information transfer

The Nunavut projects include:

• C$250,000 for mapping the hyperspectral response of areas known to host massive sulphide and orogenic gold mineralization in the northern Slave Province. This project will significantly assist in the geoscience mapping and exploration of Nunavut. Having better geoscience information will help attract exploration and mining investments in Nunavut.

• C$60,000 for new mapping and research of the Hope Bay Belt, which contains a number of significant gold occurrences that have significant parts still poorly understood. New mapping and research will help to develop a deeper understanding of the gold occurrences in this area, help make better exploration decisions and attract further investment to Nunavut, according to CanNor.

• C$50,000 - Developing a Web-based application to manage and make accessible data that will help mining companies to make the best decisions. The work proposed for 2009-10 includes updating and upgrading the application, development of a "New Releases" page, adding an Oil and Gas view and working with new partners to include community-area geology data at

• C$150,000 to help locate, map and describe potential sources for aggregate or granular materials used in road-building and maintenance in three Nunavut communities - Gjoa Haven, Pangnirtung and Repulse Bay - which have insufficient and proper material for infrastructure development. By identifying potential resources and mapping them, the infrastructure development so badly needed in these communities can continue.

• C$40,000 for assessing for potential industry use the limestone deposit near Coral Harbour, which is strategically located for barging to major mining projects in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut. This project will result in an assessment of the limestone and its potential industry use. Certain compositions of limestone, generally those with more carbonate, are better suited for use in water treatment at mines, explosion abatement at mines, cement manufacturing and for many other industrial applications.

Funding for Northwest Territories

CanNor also awarded a total of C$1.2 million to six separate geoscience projects in Northwest Territories, targeted for completion during the 2009-10 field season. The federal NWT Geoscience Office will complete the project work, in partnership with the Government of Northwest Territories' Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment.

The projects include:

• C$422,000 for primary bedrock mapping in several sub-projects focused on base metal prospects in underexplored and undermapped regions of the Mackenzie Mountains. The sub-projects will focus on specific goals such as determining effective methods to differentiate mineral potential in distinct units of similar-looking rock. Targeted mapping and sampling projects will take place on the Yellowknife Greenstone Belt (gold) and the Blachford Intrusive Complex (rare earth metals). The projects will focus on refining mineral-deposit knowledge to encourage exploration outside of currently staked and permitted areas. Both projects involve NWT Geoscience Office/university/industry partnerships.

• C$500,000 to conduct surveys intended to rapidly enhance the geological and environmental knowledge of large areas. The surveys will help locate new minerals, allowing companies to focus their exploration. They also provide important background environmental information that can inform decisions at the regulatory phase of project development.

• C$105,000 for updating and enhancing NWT data for mineral explorers that is critical to future economic investment. The NWT Geoscience Office manages and distributes geoscience data through three applications: the NT Go Map that serves geoscience and other data in web-GIS format; Gateway, a Web application for document distribution; and, NORMIN, an electronic database of mineral showing and reference.

• C$20,000 to re-assess and reprocess data from five airborne geophysical surveys completed in recent years in underexplored mineral or petroleum areas so that new exploration targets can be identified. The surveys filled gaps in the modern geophysical data record for the NWT.

• C$20,000 for funding unanticipated project needs such as age dating of new rock units discovered during field mapping. Funds will also be used for a university-based project using lake sediment samples to study climactic variability along the Contwoyto-to-Tibbet Lake ice road. This seasonal ice is important for the NWT economy.

In Yukon Territory, CanNor funded two projects that support business development, including C$192,142 to the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce to assist with the chamber's successful Yukon Business Development Project. The YBDP provides advisory services to selected Yukon businesses with high growth potential. It supports businesses with expert knowledge and resources to reach the next level of commercial success.


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