The federal government is providing $500,000 to bolster the northern territories' ability to attract investment in mining and exploration.
The funding was announced on Sunday at British Columbia's annual mining conference, AME Roundup, in Vancouver. The money supports a pan-territorial initiative named Invest Canada North, which "connects global investors with the competitive advantages and opportunities in Canada's North."
The Yukon Mining Alliance said it would use money announced on Sunday to promote the North's resources at the PDAC (Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada) conference, another of Canada's major annual mining gatherings.
The NWT government considers Roundup a key opportunity to woo potential investors. Premier Caroline Cochrane and members of cabinet are in Vancouver for the event this week, as are Indigenous government leaders.
In prepared remarks before travelling to Vancouver, industry minister Katrina Nokleby said "priority projects" in the NWT – like the Slave Geological Province access road, and expansion of the Taltson hydro system – would be marketed as "opportunities for investors."
The territory justifies the annual pilgrimage of government leaders to Roundup on the grounds that mining and exploration "regularly directly contributes more than 20 percent of total economic activity annually in the Northwest Territories," in the words of a news release issued last week.
However, at the same time, the NWT's chamber of mines complained that spending on exploration in the territory was projected to drop sharply once 2019 federal data was finalized. "The projected decline comes after two years of modest gains. Exploration spending in the NWT has languished for over a decade," the chamber wrote.