Industry dates back to 1890s gold claim; diverse minerals brightens outlook
Min. David Ramsay
Special to Mining News
The Northwest Territories has been closely linked with the mining industry ever since B.A. Blakeney, a prospector on his way to the Klondike, staked the first gold mining claim here in 1898. And although the focus has shifted from gold to diamonds, the industry remains at the forefront of any discussion regarding the NWT’s economic well-being: the territory produced over C$2 billion in total mineral shipments in 2011, a staggering total for a jurisdiction which has a population that barely exceeds 40,000 residents.
Although diamonds remain the backbone of the NWT’s economy, the life of the territory’s three producing mines – like any non-renewable resource – is finite. However, both government and industry have been proactive on this front, with numerous projects in various stages of exploration and permitting, and the Government of the Northwest Territories developing a Mineral Development Strategy designed to ensure the NWT’s mining future remains as bright as the diamonds it has become so famous for producing.
There is no shortage of mining activity in the NWT and the array of projects on the horizon promises a future as vast and diverse as the northern wilderness. From a return to the territory’s golden roots to operations as groundbreaking as Blakeney’s first discovery over a century ago, there is reason to be excited in the NWT – both with the present, and for the future.