COMMENTARY: Let’s put out the welcome mat for exploration and mining investment – by Elizabeth Kingston (Nunatsiaq News – August 11, 2016)

Elizabeth Kingston is the General Manager of the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines.

“Is our investment not welcome in Nunavut?”

All contracts are based on “consideration,” that is, something of value is given in return for a performance or a promise of a performance by another. You pay for a product or service, and expect something in return. That is why Canada’s consumer laws are in place — to ensure buyers get their money’s worth.

But can the same be said for the mining industry in Nunavut? Is it getting the consideration it deserves for the high-risk investments it makes?

Mining and exploration companies have been operating in good faith, conducting their programs under the watchful eye of regulatory authorities, and investing millions of dollars over the course of many years, all in the slim hope of making an exciting discovery that will pay off for them and their stakeholders, including governments, Inuit organizations, communities, individual Nunavummiut, and investors.

But what we seem to be getting lately in return from government and regulators is a lot of “no”, which leaves our industry puzzled and disillusioned.

Is our investment not welcome in Nunavut? I mean, don’t we have a good thing going here?

The geologists all agree that there is a high level of mineral potential in Nunavut. This is an inherent natural resource — largely untapped — that can benefit an awful lot of people.

There is a growing sense of a real lost opportunity here, and we are concerned. After all, a viable minerals industry will be required to make devolution a success.

What’s really sad is that our industry will be left with little choice but to close up shop and try somewhere else.

Evidence of this is already apparent with exploration camps packing up and early prospecting projects being put aside for another time.

Let’s turn this around, so that an exodus doesn’t happen and we can keep our northern mineral investment dollars right where they belong — here in our own community.

Let’s show our appreciation for the exploration and mining companies that have made such a big commitment to this territory and send the message that they are welcome here.

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