ANALYSIS: Behind the numbers: Does everyone in the Northwest Territories love mining? – by Ollie Williams (CBC News North – June 8, 2016)

Even mining executives surprised by pro-industry views in survey results

Do almost nine out of 10 residents really think mining is good for the Northwest Territories? Do 87 per cent of people in the territory think mining deserves a good reputation, while the potentially indefinite cleanup of one of the world’s most contaminated mine sites begins on Yellowknife’s doorstep?

And do 82 per cent of residents want more mining projects to open here? According to survey results published earlier this week, the answer is yes. That survey was conducted by Abacus Data, an established national research company, and commissioned by the N.W.T. and Nunavut Chamber of Mines.

Its results are so overwhelmingly favourable toward mining that even industry executives at presentations this week could be heard expressing shock.

Answers: what the survey said

In short, the survey concluded N.W.T. residents are Canada’s biggest mining fans.

Highlighting its key findings, Abacus said “roughly 80 per cent [of those surveyed] have positive feelings about mining and mineral exploration companies operating in the territory.”

Eighty-six per cent of those surveyed thought mining was good for the territory; 83 per cent say mining regulation works well in their region; and almost half say their impression of mining companies in the territory is improving.

There is virtually no bad news for the industry, or poor view of its practices, contained in the survey’s results.

Possibly faring worst is the field of mineral exploration. The survey finds that while 17 per cent of people hold “unfavourable” views toward mining companies operating in the N.W.T., that number jumps to 23 per cent for mineral exploration companies — who do the work of finding deposits before mining companies exploit them.

The Chamber of Mines, summing up the results, says residents “have made it clear that they overwhelmingly support mining.”

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