This is page numbers 5839 - 16 of the Hansard for the 18th Assembly, 3rd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was work. View the webstream of the day's session.

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Question 778-18(3): Bellanca Building
Oral Questions

Page 5856

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Sahtu.

Question 779-18(3): Mining Activities in the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

June 6th, 2019

Page 5856

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Following up on my recognition of NWT Mining Week, as we heard from the Minister responsible for the Housing Corporation in his statement, the De Beers Group has made a meaningful contribution. This is an example of industry's presence in our territory, not to mention the absorbing costs of transporting fuel by imperial oil, as well.

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister released the 2018 Socio-Economic Agreement Report for diamond mines operating in the Northwest Territories. This week is Mining Week, as mentioned, and again, we are hearing about the diamond mines. I recognize that diamond mines are very important to our economy, but what has happened to the other commodities? What has happened to gold, for example? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 779-18(3): Mining Activities in the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 5856

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you, Member for Sahtu. Minister of Infrastructure.

Question 779-18(3): Mining Activities in the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 5856

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. All Members in this House know how critical the importance of the mineral sector is to our economy, and I have been out there promoting this sector, trying to bring back the investment that was gone since the 2008 crash. We are out there promoting the Northwest Territories of our economic viability and our engagement with Indigenous governments. We have been to PDAC. We have been to Roundup, and all of these great things, promoting the Northwest Territories. In those discussions, the juniors have told us quite clearly that access to cash for exploration projects anywhere is very tough. It's very tough. Most of the money has gone to the marijuana market. Raising money is extremely tough for these people. We are continuing to work with them the best that we can.

With that said, we have a couple of different projects that are past exploration stage. We have NorZinc, and we have Fortune Minerals, who are trying to move theirs into the operation stage. We will continue to work with them. We have Osisko and Pine Point, who have really ramped up their advanced exploration and are trying to advance their project rapidly in the Northwest Territories in Pine Point. We both have TerraX and Nighthawk Gold, who are trying to define their projects. We know that they are in a greenbelt situation, and they look very promising.

We are working with all of these guys, and we have our Avalon project with Cheetah Resources, who are trying to do the mini-project out at the Avalon site. These are all positives indicators in the mining sector for a market that is very tight, and we will continue to work on that and promote the Northwest Territories. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 779-18(3): Mining Activities in the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 5856

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thanks to the Minister for that reply. That is good news there. Can the Minister tell me what his department is doing to support or promote this exploration and interest?

Question 779-18(3): Mining Activities in the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 5856

Wally Schumann Hay River South

As we all know, we have done a number of things in the last three years, and we will continue to work on them. We have our mineral development strategies in which we will invest another $2 million this fiscal year for the regions that are participating. We have the Unlocking Our Potential brand that we will continue to work to increase public and industry awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the Northwest Territories.

We will continue to fully engage with the federal government, particularly around infrastructure investments. We have been very successful in infrastructure investments in the Northwest Territories, and we will continue to work with our colleagues in Ottawa to invest in the Northwest Territories, to help us improve our mineral potential in the Northwest Territories and to the world.

The Minister of ECE continues to work on Skills 4 Success to help promote education around the jobs needed in the future of the Northwest Territories. A number of them are around the Mineral Resources Act. We have built the new building in Fort Smith.

There are a number of different things that we are working on. The geological survey is trying to update their information. Also, the mineral incentive program that we have in this House.

Question 779-18(3): Mining Activities in the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 5856

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thanks to the Minister for that reply. Moving on to the next question, we have a manufacturing community in our territory. The Minister introduced the manufacturing strategy. It seems to me that a vibrant mining sector could be a good customer for manufacturing projects in the NWT. Are there any plans to link the two sectors together?

Question 779-18(3): Mining Activities in the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 5856

Wally Schumann Hay River South

A strong, prosperous mining sector totally helps benefit the many aspects of our economy, and the manufacturing sector is one of them. We will continue to work with that. The manufacturing strategy that we introduced in the House this week is to increase market size for the manufacturers, and the mining sector is an important sector of that. We will continue to work with them on that.

The other thing that I think we need to look at, and hopefully will happen, is to have the mining sector participate in the reverse trade shows that we will have the Manufacturers' Association participate in and build a showcase of what they have available to the mining sector in the Northwest Territories. These things are all important. They are all linked. Our economy is important to all of us in this House, and we will continue to work on them together.

Question 779-18(3): Mining Activities in the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 5857

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Final oral question. Member for Sahtu.

Question 779-18(3): Mining Activities in the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 5857

Daniel McNeely Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for that allowance. When it comes to diamond mining, we have also talked a lot in this House about opportunities to manufacture diamonds. Can the Minister give us an update on the department's work regarding the NWT secondary diamond industry? Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

Question 779-18(3): Mining Activities in the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 5857

Wally Schumann Hay River South

As all Members know, I just came back from JCK in Las Vegas. It is the premier event around diamond industry in the world. The world-leading diamond industry executives are there, and I had had an opportunity to talk to a number of them. At the same time, the biggest thing that came out of this event this year was our new diamond policy framework that we introduced last year in December in this House. I had a lot of support from Members across. SCEDE was very supportive of the initiative, but one comment I think was mentioned in committee when I was in front of them was, "It looks like a good idea, Wally, but I'm not so sure it's going to work."

Well, I would like to update the House today because, at JCK, Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity to meet people from South Africa, from Namibia, the President of Botswana; these people are very interested in how we change our beneficiation around diamond policy framework. It was a very interesting couple of days down there. Our diamond policy framework has obviously turned this thing upside down globally. They are very interested in what we are doing at the department, and kudos go out to all of our staff at ITI that worked on this. It was a very creative way of thinking about how we could benefit from diamonds in the Northwest Territories. People around the globe are paying attention to what they are doing, so kudos to them. I support the diversification of our economy, and this is one of them. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 779-18(3): Mining Activities in the Northwest Territories
Oral Questions

Page 5857

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Mackenzie Delta.

Question 780-18(3): Elder Forced Out of Home into Facility
Oral Questions

Page 5857

Frederick Blake Jr. Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In follow-up to my Member's statement, I have a few questions for the Minister responsible for Housing. As I mentioned in my statement, I have an elder in the community of Aklavik who is being forced out of her home and told that she has to move into the elders' home. I would like to ask the Minister: does the Housing Corporation support elders in aging in place, or is it aging in place that they decide? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 780-18(3): Elder Forced Out of Home into Facility
Oral Questions

Page 5857

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation.

Question 780-18(3): Elder Forced Out of Home into Facility
Oral Questions

Page 5857

Alfred Moses Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In regard to the constituent's concern, I won't get into the specifics. The Member and I have had conversations on that.

One of the mandates of the 18th Legislative Assembly is promoting community wellness and safety to support elders in their own communities for as long as possible. I had questions from one of the Members earlier this week, and we talked about the seniors' aging-in-place retrofits, and we support that. We also want to make sure that, when we look at the work that we are doing in the communities with our seniors and our elders, it is done on a case-by-case study. I did encourage the Member that we will be working with his constituent and himself to address the situation.

Like I said, we do have a mandate. We have done a comprehensive seniors planning study that we're going to focus on. We do have a seniors aging in place retrofits. We are working with the Department of Health and Social Services. Over the past few years, we have constructed five seniors' complexes which I must mention; two of them are in the Member's riding. We continue to support seniors aging in place, or seniors aging in a place where they have the supports and the services that they need.

We will continue to keep the Member updated, and we will continue to dialogue with the Member and work on the case before us and come up with a solution. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.