As community visits for our first ever Northwest Territories-made Mineral Resources Act continue, we want to highlight four key themes for discussion we will be focusing on at these public engagement sessions.
The minerals industry is a big deal for the Northwest Territories (NWT) economy. It employs more than 1000 residents and contributing hundreds of millions to our Gross Domestic Product.
The Government of the Northwest Territories has a duty to have processes in place to manage this activity in a way that strikes a balance between encouraging economic opportunities and getting a fair deal from companies who benefit from our natural resources.
This is why responsibly managing industry emerged as an important theme for discussion as we create this new legislation.
When looking at creating legislation for the minerals industry, the GNWT has two general goals in mind:
· Ensuring effective processes are in place to ensure mineral exploration and development is being done responsibly.
· Encouraging investment in responsible resource development to bring benefits to Northwest Territories residents.
These public engagement sessions are all about hearing from YOU on the best ways to reach these kinds of goals.
Under this general theme, there are a few key topics to consider.
Inspections and Monitoring: It is important for the government to keep track of activities at mining and exploration projects to make sure information is reported correctly. The GNWT can collect information about exploration activities, geological results, mining costs, and mineral value. What do you think the GNWT should require companies to share? Should the GNWT look at creating a new mine inspector position to enforce rules?
Rehabilitation and Closure: While mine closures and rehabilitation are covered by federal law which the GNWT can’t change, we have an opportunity to complement it with this new legislation. How should this new law address abandoned mines? Can you see issues with the way mine closures are currently handled? What about ways we could make sure mine sites are left as close to their natural states as possible?
Transparency, Public Accountability and Ministerial Authority: A well-run regulatory system should build trust with clear, accurate, timely information for the public, and certainty for industry. The Minister must also have enough authority to react to emergencies (i.e. environmental crisis). What information should be made public to improve openness? What powers should the Minister have?
Work Requirements: When mineral explorers and mining companies hold mineral rights within our lands, we want to ensure they are using the land productively. Are the current work requirements for mineral claims and mineral leases sufficient? (See FAQs if you are unclear about these terms) Should mineral rights be taken away if work isn’t being done?
Geoscience Reporting: Public geoscience information is integral to attracting investment and government decision-making on land and resource management. What kinds of geological information do you think the GNWT should require companies to share?
Want more details on these topics? Visit Engage-ITI/MRA to find backgrounders and information on these topics, along with other useful information to help get the context you need to HAVE YOUR SAY on this landmark legislation.