The Northwest Territories and Nunavut’s share of expected spending on resource exploration and deposit appraisals in Canada is on the decline, and has been for a few years.
The most recent numbers from Natural Resources Canada indicate spending in the N.W.T. is expected to decline to $81.3 million this year, down from $90 million last year. Exploration spending in the territory peaked in 2007 at $194 million.
In Nunavut, the decline is more dramatic. Spending there is expected to decline by more than $58 million — from $169 million last year to $110.7 million this year. In 2007, companies spent $338 million on mining exploration in Nunavut.
The estimates represent spending on a mix of “grass roots and advanced exploration,” said Tom Hoefer, the executive director of the N.W.T. and Nunavut Chamber of Mines. Hoefer says ignoring the decline is unwise as less exploration today means fewer chances of discovering tomorrow’s new mines.
“The [established] mines are doing okay,” he said. “It’s trying to attract that new exploration up here and getting that investment — that’s the hard part.”