Like many other northern regions, Canada’s North was settled because of its mineral resources. When the Canadian Dominion Government first purchased its arctic regions from the British Crown in the late 1800s, the Northwest Territories was seen as a vast stretch of cold, inhospitable land and was thus largely ignored at the time. However, due to the Klondike Gold Rush, the future of these northern lands would change forever. These days, a new rush has arisen, a white gold rush for lithium in Northwest Territories.
With the market for electric vehicles and battery storage technology predicted to skyrocket in coming years, demand for critical minerals continues to grow in turn. With this, lithium appears poised to recharge NWT’s exploration sector.
Much of the history of mining in NWT has occurred in the southern region of the territory, with the north remaining one of the largest untapped mining areas in the world. Commercial mining began in this region with the Eldorado uranium mine in 1933, followed by the establishment of the Con, Negus, and Rycon gold mines later in the decade.
While gold mining continued to bloom throughout the 1940s and 50s and would almost exclusively dominate the mining sector until the establishment of both the Cantung tungsten mine (which remains dormant) and the Pine Point zinc-lead mine (now owned and explored by Osisko Metals Inc.) in 1962, the diamond surge separated much of the metals resource exploration for gemstones.
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