Understand Indigenous values: industry vet Former Ekati worker Fiona Blondin on board of Ontario exploration firm By Derek Neary Northern News Services
Yellowknife’s Fiona Blondin has taken her leadership skills to KWG Resources as the Ontario-based exploration company attempts to advance its projects in the Ring of Fire. Blondin worked at the Ekati mine for three years when it was owned by BHP and still in its early stages of development. Filling a role in the securities division, she witnessed the mine progress from the construction phase to becoming operational. “I look back at that period of time as being foundational in my career and in my approach,” says Blondin, who was in her early 20s during that period. “I really felt that it opened up a lot of opportunities for our people around employment and I really learned a lot from that experience … I learned a lot about the impact of policies within the organization for Indigenous people. I learned a lot about how Indigenous people can play a greater role. “Twenty-five years ago, our role within mining was really surrounding employment … 25 years later, our whole sector and our participation within mining companies has really dramatically evolved.” It is with that mindset that she accepted an appointment as a director on KWG Resource’s board in September. She says boards are starting to become more diverse and inclusive. “I feel that it’s important to have representation (from Indigenous communities)… the companies that we work with should understand our values around the environment, should understand why we’re taking the approach that we are,” she says. “I think that Indigenous communities have an expectation that the people they work with reflect their own populations.” She points to various examples around the country where Indigenous groups have taken an ownership stake in mining projects, such as the Tahltan First Nation partnering with Skeena Resources on a gold project in British Columbia’s Golden Triangle. “The Tahltan are really taking a leadership role in their approach to working with mining companies and their approach to the Golden Triangle, and their personal investment as a nation in ownership as Indigenous businesses, as a nation and even potential owners and investors within mining,” she says. “(Indigenous people) are making a huge impact on the Canadian economy at this point. I really believe that we have strong connections to the land. We have strong connections to each other, and we strong we respect for each other… I’m also starting to see a greater change in strategic alliances that are building with Indigenous communities, when you’re starting to have more than one community – sometimes more than five communities – work together to create… business
alliances or alliances for the region.” After working with BHP, Blondin was hired by Sheila Copps, then-minister of Canadian Heritage, which exposed her to the distribution of core funding for off-reserve First Nations as well as “powers shaping the country” while in Ottawa. From there, she took a position with Ishkonigan, a consulting firm owned by Phil Fontaine, former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. She referred to Fontaine as an “inspiring leader nationally,” and the role she took on as “really transformative.” “This was so valuable in refining my approach to the work that I do to this day with Indigenous communities,” she recalls. ‘Support that vision’ Blondin emphasized that the key to moving forward for industry is to truly understand the goals that Indigenous groups set for themselves: “Letting the communities lead the way and what we can do to support that vision,” she says. “Each nation has different concerns. Whether you’re Indigenous or non-Indigenous, I think that we all have a huge investment in the environment. Even sitting on the board of directors for a mining company, I feel highly invested in the environment. I feel highly invested in our approach and what we plan to still have seven generations from now.” Earlier this year, she became director of Indigneous Strategy with Cormorant Utility Services, based in Cambridge, Ont., about 90 minutes outside of Toronto. She was thoroughly impressed with John Risley, a major shareholder in Cormorant, who sold half of Clearwater Seafoods to Indigenous ownership in 2020. “When I came to Cormorant Utility, I knew I was in the right place,” says Blondin. KWG Resources is exploring chromite deposits in the James Bay Lowlands of Ontario, part of mineral-rich area known as the Ring of Fire. Chromite is integral in the making of stainless steel. The board of directors’ “focal point” will be working with Indigenous communities, she says. “I feel highly invested in the outcome of communities and the work that they’re doing with mining. I feel invested in seeing our people create opportunities for our own nation. I feel like those key pieces of my experience and approach is what I’m bringing to KWG Resources,” says Blondin, now a 49-year-old grandmother. “I feel strongly about Indigenous ownership and the opportunity should always be for all the Indigenous communities to have the first chance to own all project-related infrastructure and, potentially, mine sites themselves and I bring that strong vision with me to the work that I do with boards of directors.” Blondin spent the early part of her childhood in Yellowknife.
“ᐃᒃᐱᒍᓱᔫᐊᖅᐳᖓ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᓄᑦ ᓇᖕᒥᓂᖃᕐᓂᐅᔪᒥ ᐊᒻᒪ ᐱᕕᒃᓴᖃᐃᓐᓇᐅᔭᓪᓗᐊᖅᐳᖅ ᑕᒪᒃᑭᓗᒃᑖᓄᑦ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᓯᒪᔪᓄᑦ ᓄᓇᓕᐅᔪᓄᑦ ᓯᕗᓪᓕᖅᐹᒥ ᐱᕕᒃᓴᖃᕐᓂᖏᓐᓂ ᓇᖕᒥᓂᖃᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᑕᒪᒃᑭᓂ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᒃᓴᐅᔪᓄᑦ–ᐱᔾᔪᑎᓕᖕᓂ ᓄᓇᓖᑦ ᐊᑐᖅᐸᒃᑕᖏᓐᓂ ᐊᐅᓚᔪᓐᓇᖁᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ, ᐱᕙᓪᓕᐊᑎᑦᑎᔪᓐᓇᓛᖅᑐᒥ, ᐅᔭᕋᖕᓂᐊᕐᕕᖕᓂ ᐃᓂᐅᔪᓂ ᓇᖕᒥᓂᖅ,” ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ ᕕᐅᓇ ᐸᓛᓐᑎᓐ.
“I feel strongly about Indigenous ownership and the opportunity should always be for all the Indigenous communities to have the first chance to own all project-related infrastructure and, potentially, mine sites themselves,” says Fiona Blondin. Photo courtesy of Cormorant Utility Services Her mom, Georgina, attended the University of Alberta to attain her teaching degree, bringing Fiona with her while she was in elementary school. Her aunt Ethel Blondin-Andrew also earned a teaching degree. All three of them then moved to Fort Providence where her mom and Ethel worked as teachers. Her mother later moved to Vancouver to pursue her master’s degree. Although Fiona has been living in Ontario for the past two decades, she still feels a strong connection to the NWT. “When I wake up in the morning I think about home, I think about home, about the North,” she says.
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News North Nunavut
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Analyzing Nunavut diamonds
Monday, November 22, 2021 B3
ᓂᒋᖅᐸᓯᖕᒧᑦ ᑕᐅᕗᖓ North Arrow Minerals’ ᐃᓂᒋᔭᖓᓄᑦ 2,000-ᑕᓐᓂ ᐆᒃᑐᕋᕐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᖑᔪᖅ ᐱᔭᕇᖅᑕᐅᓚᐅᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᐊᒻᒪ ᐅᑕᖅᑭᓪᓗᑎᒃ ᐅᓯᔭᐅᓂᐊᕐᓂᖓᓂ ᓇᐅᔮᑦ ᓯᒡᔭᖓᓄᑦ ᐅᓯᓕᐅᔾᔭᐅᓂᐊᖅᑐᒥ ᐅᒥᐊᕐᔪᐊᕐᒧᑦ, ᓄᓇᓕᐅᔪᖅ ᓇᐅᔮᓂ 10 ᑭᓛᒥᑐᑲᓴᖕᒥ ᐅᖓᓯᒃᑎᒋᕗᖅ.
ᐆᒃᑐᕋᖅᑎᐅᔪᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᔩᑦ ᖁᕕᐊᓱᒍᑎᖃᖅᐳᑦ ᑭᖑᓪᓕᖅᐹᖓᓂ ᐴᖑᔪᒥ Q1-4 ᑕᐃᒪᓐ ᐃᓂᒋᒐᔪᒃᑖᓂ 2,000-ᑕᓐᓂ ᐃᓕᒃᑯᐊᒥ ᐆᒃᑐᒐᕐᓴᐅᔪᒥ ᓇᐅᔮᓂ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᒃᓴᐅᔪᒥ. ᓴᐅᒥᖕᒥ, ᑕᓂᔅ ᖃᐅᓐᓇᖅ, ᔪᐊᔾ ᐳᑐᓕᒃ, ᐊᓖᓴ ᑲᓐᓇᑕ, ᔨᐊᕋᒥ ᐃᑦᑭᓕᒃ, ᔮᓐ ᑲᑦᔪᒃ, ᑖᓐ ᒐᐃᓄᕐ, ᑕᐃᕕᑦ ᑲᑦᔪᒃ, ᑎᐊᕆ ᒑᑦᕗᕆ, ᑲᓇᑦ ᑲᑐᖅᑲ, ᑮᑦ ᕕᐅᓪᑦᕼᐊᒻ ᐊᒻᒪ ᐹᓂ ᓯᐅᑎᓐᓄᐊᕐ. Looking south towards the North Arrow Minerals’ laydown area after the 2,000-tonne sampling program was complete and awaiting transport to Naujaat’s beach to be loaded on the sealift. The community of Naujaat is less than 10 kilometres away. Photo courtesy of Dave Pickston
North Arrow Minerals takes 2,000-tonne bulk sample from Naujaat diamond project By Derek Neary Northern News Services
North Arrow Minerals mobilized at the Naujaat Diamond Project site over the
summer to collect a 2,000-tonne bulk sample. The analysis will help determine whether fancy yellow to orange yellow diamonds present at the site are worth mining.
ᒪᕐᕉᒃ North Arrow–ᑯᑦ ᓄᓇᓕᖕᓂ ᐃᖅᑲᓇᐃᔭᖅᑎᐅᔪᑦ, ᓖ ᐋᓐ ᑐᖏᓕᒃ ᐊᒻᒪ ᔮᓐ ᑲᑦᔪᒃ, ᐱᓕᕆᕗᑦ ᓯᑎᐱᕆᒥ ᖃᓐᓂᕐᓂᐅᔪᒥ ᐃᑲᔪᖅᖢᑎᒃ ᑭᕕᒃᑕᐅᒻᒥ ᐊᖁᑎᒥᒃ Desgagn–s Transarctik Inc.–ᑯᓐᓂ ᐅᓯᓕᐅᔾᔨᓂᖏᓐᓂ ᐆᒃᑐᖅᑕᐅᓂᐊᖅᑐᓂ ᐴᕐᓂ ᓯᑲᐅᒧᑦ ᐅᓯᔭᐅᓂᐊᖅᑐᓂ ᐅᒥᐊᕐᔪᐊᒃᑯᑦ.
Two of North Arrow’s local employees, Lee Ann Tungilik and John Kadjuk, work through a September snowfall helping a forklift operator from Desgagnés Transarctik Inc. load sample bags onto a barge to be towed out with sealift. Photo courtesy of North Arrow Minerals
The laydown site for the samples is less than 10 kilometres from the community of Naujaat. From there, the ore samples will be loaded to be sealifted south for analysis.
North Arrow Minerals’ ᐊᖓᔪᖅᑳᖓ, ᐊᐅᓚᑦᑎᔨᒻᒪᕆᒃ ᐊᒻᒪ ᐅᔭᕋᖕᓂᐊᕐᕕᖕᒥ ᐆᒃᑐᕋᖅᑎᐅᔪᖅ ᑭᐊᓐ ᐋᒻᔅᑐᕌᖕ ᖃᓂᒡᓕᑦᑎᐊᖅᐳᖅ ᐅᔭᕋᖕᓂᐊᒐᒃᓴᒥ Q1-4 ᑕᐃᒪᓐ ᐃᓂᒋᒐᔪᒃᑖᓂ.
North Arrow Minerals’ president, CEO and pit sampler Kenneth Katokra gets up close and personal with the mineralogy of Q1-4 kimberlite. Photo courtesy of North Arrow Minerals
MMG IS A MID-TIER, GLOBAL PRODUCER OF BASE METALS INCLUDING COPPER AND ZINC. A LONG-TERM OUTLOOK, OUR PRIDE IN MINING, OUR COMMITMENT TO INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS AND OUR RESPECT FOR PEOPLE, LAND AND CULTURE UNDERPIN OUR SUCCESS.
The sampling crew celebrate the last bag from the Q1-4 kimberlite 2,000-tonne bulk sample at the Naujaat project. From left, Dennis Quanaq, Geroge Putilik, Alicia Cannata, Jeremy Itqiliq, John Kadjuk, Dan Gainer, David Kadjuk, Terry Godfrey, Kenneth Katokra, Keith Feltham and Barney Siutinaur. Photo courtesy of North Arrow Minerals
ᖃᐅᓪᓗᖅᑕᖅ ᐴᑦ ᑕᑖᖅᑐᑦ ᓴᕕᕋᔭᒃᓴᒥ – 2,500–ᖑᔪᑦ ᑲᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ– ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᕗᑦ ᓄᓇᒥ ᓇᐅᔮᓂ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᒃᓴᐅᔪᒥ ᑕᒪᑐᒪᓂ ᐊᐅᔭᐅᔪᒥ North Arrow Minerals ᕿᒥᕐᕈᐊᒃᑲᓐᓂᖅᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᐱᑕᖃᑐᐃᓐᓇᕆᐊᖃᕐᓂᖓᓂ Q1-4 ᑕᐃᒪᓐ ᐃᓂᒋᒐᔪᒃᑖᓂ.
White bags filled with ore – 2,500 of them in total – dotted the landscape at the Naujaat project this summer as North Arrow Minerals further examines the potential of the Q1-4 kimberlite. Photo courtesy of North Arrow Minerals
B4 Monday, November 22, 2021
News North Nunavut
So much more than rocks k NKu W? 9oxJ5
Gary Vivian has survived planes going down, aggressive bears and hordes of mosquitoes By Derek Neary Northern News Services
Geology has landed Gary Vivian in some extremely remote Northern locations, and a few of those landings had his heart in his throat. With a career that has spanned more than 40 years, he’s climbed aboard planes and helicopters thousands of times, bound for destinations that many Northerners have never seen. One trip made him fear for his life when the Beaver he was flying in lost engine power due to a frozen fuel line while outside of Rankin Inlet. “(The pilot) called mayday a couple of times going down. Although you sort of sh*t your
pants, I didn’t really think that we were going to hit that hard because those Beavers glide pretty well,” he recalls. The plane was on wheel-skis and bounced off a frozen lake, coming to a stop without tragedy. “He did a good job,” Vivian said of the pilot. He’s also saved people from helicopter crashes on different occasions. But he was sure to praise the safety records of Northern airlines as the vast majority of his trips went without a hitch. There have been multiple harrowing wildlife encounters, too. Vivian has awoken to the terrifying sound of his tent being ripped open by a bear’s claws more than once. “We yelled and screamed and slammed some
ᐅᔭᕋᖕᓂᐊᖅᑎ ᒋᐊᕆ ᕕᕕᐊᓐ ᓄᓇᒥ ᕿᒻᒥᖓᓗ ᕚᓐᓯ. ᑕᑯᔭᐅᒐᔪᒃᐳᖅ ᐃᓚᖃᖅᑐᒥ ᑎᒍᐊᕆᔭᖏᓐᓂ ᐆᒪᔪᓂᑦ ᕿᓂᕐᓂᕐᒥ ᐱᓕᕆᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᐅᖓᓯᒃᑐᒥ ᐅᑭᐅᖅᑕᖅᑐᒥ ᐃᓂᐅᔪᓂᑦ. “ᑲᒪᓇᖅᐳᖅ ᖃᓄᑎᒋ ᕿᒻᒥᕐᓄᑦ ᐅᖃᓪᓚᓲᖑᓂᕐᓂ ᐃᓄᑑᑎᓪᓗᑎᑦ,” ᐃᓪᓚᖅᐳᖅ.
Geologist Gary Vivian in the field with his dog Fonzie. He’s often been accompanied by faithful pets while doing exploration work at remote Northern locations. “Amazing how much you talk to your dog when you are alone,” he laughs. Photo courtesy of Gary Vivian
pots, but he was still coming through,” he recalls of one of the incidents. “Unfortunately, we had to shoot it.” The caribou south of Diavik and Ekati didn’t pose risk to life and limb, but they wreaked havoc on surveying efforts at times. “The caribou would walk between myself and the transmitter guy, right over the cable and then we’d spend an hour trying to fix the cable because they cut it up in many places,” he says of their sharp hooves. “They weren’t afraid of us at all.” Vivian has encountered more than his share of parasitic flying insects on the land as well, but one particular trip still leaves him itchy at the thought: Fox Lake camp, south of Baker Lake, in 1978-79. “You were wishing for a wind just to get the bugs to be at your back and not at your face. They were unbelievable,” he said, adding that he relied on bug spray to provide some relief from the mosquitoes. “They drive the caribou and the animals absolutely nuts.” While he was building his reputation as a geologist, he remembers routinely spending three to four months in the field at a time in all seasons — about 80 per cent of his working life at the time. Those were the days when cellphones and other satellite communications devices were not part of the adventure. Four members of the geology team would bunk down in two tents, and they mostly saw eye-to-eye, according to Vivian. “There weren’t very many times when we didn’t get along, and if we didn’t it was straightened out pretty quick,” he says. “I can’t think of a small camp I was ever in that we had any serious issues where we had to bring a plane to get somebody out.” Meals commonly consisted of canned meat like Klik that “would last forever,” he recalls. There were also times when they ate canned whole chicken. His days would be spent doing geophysics,
line cutting, mapping, staking, surveying and building camps. He remembers the excitement of being involved in the Kennady North diamonds discovery near Gahcho Kue. “It was probably the most rewarding experience I ever felt because we took that project from nothing, basically grassroots with a couple of tiny, little kimberlite hits and turned it into a 9-million-tonne resource,” he says. There have been other times when he’s walked away from exploration sites that never resulted in a significant find, although he felt that there was potential. Sometimes companies quickly run out of money, he explains. There have been periodic opportunities to return with other clients who explore more extensively and wind up with the results that the first company was looking for, Vivian says. “That’s why we’ve always been about telling clients that you need to explore systematically. Yes, it might be a bit slower, but at least you’re going to get a proper answer. Whereas if you walk away, somebody else comes back 20 years later and finds something,” he says. The North, he adds, is still a “frontier” ripe for more mineral and metals discoveries. These days, Vivian spends most of his time mentoring junior geologists and administering programs as a senior project manager and chairman of Aurora Geosciences in Yellowknife. He has worked in most of Canada’s provinces and all three territories, but it’s the North where he decided to stay. “I love the people. I love the Indigenous people,” he says. “They’ve been great to work with, and I’m a believer that they are the resource rulers. We tell all of our clients when they come here that you reach out to the communities first before you do any project or anything on the land — you go talk to the land owners first. Whether they’re Inuit or Dene, Métis, you go to the communities first and you introduce yourself.”
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B6 Monday, November 22, 2021
News North Nunavut
Mining for data
Churning through figures from industry players in the North By Derek Neary Northern News Services
By the numbers: Facts and figures about mining and exploration in the NWT and Nunavut The amount of money that companies planned to allocate for mineral exploration in Nun-
avut and the NWT rebounded in 2021 compared to preliminary estimates from 2020. In Nunavut, there was $85.4 million of projected exploration to be done this year. If it goes as planned, that would be an increase of 20.3 per cent from $71 million the previous year. However, both figures pale in comparison to 2019, when $116.4
million was expended. In the NWT, the jump is to $47.7 million in anticipated spending in 2021 from $35.4 million in preliminary exploration work in 2020, a difference of 34.7 per cent. Like Nunavut, the NWT showed more robust interest in 2019 when exploration attracted $79.8 million in investment.
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Quebec was the runaway leader nationally in enticing companies to commit exploration dollars in 2021, projected at $988.2 million. The figure for Canada this year is expected to hit $2.9 billion, up from $2.1 billion a year earlier. - A total of 100 new claims were staked in the NWT in 2020, encompassing a total area of 75,440.5 hectares, according to the NWT Geological Survey. The GNWT disbursed $1 million through the Mining Incentive Program in 2019-20 to nine prospectors and eight companies. In 2020-21, another $1 million
went to 13 prospectors and seven companies. - There were 129 prospecting permits issued in Nunavut in 2020, down from 137 in 2019. Claims totalled 2,454 in 2020, a reduction from 2,588 the previous year. The number of leases was identical in both years, at 519. In total, that accounts for approximately 18,530 square km in the Kivalliq region, 18,460 square km in the Kitikmeot region and 12,000 square km in the Qikiqtani region. - De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds, owners of
the Gahcho Kue diamond mine, spent close to $193 million with NWT-based companies in 2020. Of that total, $85 million went to Indigenous companies. Since 2015, those figures rise to $1.25 billion spent with Northern businesses, while $442 million of that went to Indigenous enterprises in the NWT. - Gahcho Kue mine employed 296 NWT residents in 2020, representing half of the workforce. Of that total, 57 per cent self-identified as Indigenous, accounting for 28 per cent of all mine workers. Women comprised 19 per cent of employees. - De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds have invested $3.1 million in community social development projects since Gahcho Kue began operations ($748,000 in 2020 alone). This includes realms such as culture and heritage, education and training, health and safety and sport. - Rio Tinto’s majority owned Diavik diamond mine employed 486 Northerners within its 1,100-person workforce in 2020. Women make up 14 per cent of all staff. - Since 2000, Diavik has been responsible for injecting $6.4 billion in spending into the Northern economy. In 2020, $189 million was directed to Northern non-Indigenous businesses while another $132.6 million went to Northern Indigenous-owned ventures. - Diavik designated more than $700,000 toward Covid-19 community initiatives in 2020. - More than $120 million has been invested in the Nechalacho rare earths project, 100 km southeast of Yellowknife, since inception. Of the 60 employees working on rotation earlier in 2020, 85 per cent were Northerners and 70 per cent were Indigenous. - Total income paid to Agnico Eagle’s 378 full-time equivalent Inuit employees in 2020 amounted to $26.8 million. More than half of that went Nunavummiut workers who were sent home for safety reasons as the Covid19 pandemic emerged. Those employees retained 75 per cent of their base pay throughout the remainder of 2020. - Agnico Eagle spent $630 million with Inuit businesses in 2020, an increase of 26 per cent over to 2019. “The proportion of expenditures going to Inuit businesses has almost continually risen over the last decade,” the mining company stated. - Since the beginning of its operations in the Kivalliq region, Agnico Eagle has contributed $2.6 million toward education-based initiatives. - Agnico Eagle’s remittance of taxes, royalties and other payments to the Government of Nunavut, Government of Canada, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporate and the Kivalliq Inuit Association rose to $115 million in 2020 from $89 million in 2019. - Since the development of Baffinland Iron Mines’ Mary River project, approximately $1.1 billion worth of contracts have been awarded to Inuit-owned businesses and joint ventures. Baffinland added $724 million to the territory’s gross domestic product in 2019, or 23 per cent of the economy.
News North Nunavut
Monday, November 22, 2021 B7
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Looking for clues among the rocks Exploration companies and prospectors on the hunt for Northern metals and minerals By Derek Neary Northern News Services
Complications from Covid-19 put a damper on some companies’ exploration plans over the past 18 months, but others have pushed on despite having to incorporate new safety protocols. Below is a round up of projects that could one day lead to the next mine in the NWT or Nunavut.
Solstice Goldᕝᑯᑦ ᖃᐃᖅᑐᖅ ᓇᖕᒥᓂᖓᓂ ᐊᖏᓂᖃᖅᐳᖅ 866 ᑭᑉᐹᕆᒃᑐᓂ ᑭᓛᒥᑐᓂ ᑲᖏᖅᖠᓂᕐᒥ ᐊᒻᒪ ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒑᕐᔪᖕᒧᑦ.
2022. That document will reveal cost reductions based on dewatering volume estimates and a new 3D hydrogeological model. The 2020 PEA indicated a cost of $550 million to get the mine into production, which would result in more than 327 million pounds of zinc per year – a total of 39.1 million tonnes of mined resource – making Pine Point the eighth largest zinc producer globally. The mine life is projected at 10 years, but could be extended by continued drilling.
NWT Project: Yellowknife City Gold Owner: Gold Terra Resource: Gold Location: 10 km northeast of Yellowknife Status: Gold Terra reported 5.07 grams of gold per tonne over 8.35 metres, including 11.87 g/t of gold over 3.08 metres at the Campbell Shear, south of Con Mine, during the company’s 10,000-metre phase two drilling program. “Our drilling results continue to confirm and extend the potential of the Yellorex zone to add to our current resource of 1.2 million inferred ounces,” president and CEO David Suda stated in mid-October. Project: Pine Point Owner: Osisko Metals Resource: Lead, zinc Location: 42 km east of Hay River Status: Osisko announced in October its intentions to release an updated preliminary economic assessment (PEA) during the first quarter of
Fortune Minerals ᐱᒋᐊᓚᐅᖅᐳᑦ 3,000 ᒦᑕᓂ ᐃᑰᑕᕐᓂᐅᔪᒥ ᑲᒻᐸᓂᐅᑉ NICO gold, bismuth, cobalt ᐊᒻᒪ copper ᐅᔭᕋᖕᓂᐊᕐᕕᖓᓂ, 50 ᑭᓛᒥᑐᒥ ᐅᐊᖕᓇᒥ ᑲᓇᖕᓇᒥ Whati–ᒥ, ᓯᑎᐱᕆᒥ.
Fortune Minerals began 3,000 metres of drilling at the company’s NICO gold, bismuth, cobalt and copper deposit, 50 kilometres northeast of Whati, in September. Photo courtesy of Fortune Minerals
Project: Kennady North Owner: Mountain Province Diamonds/Kennady Diamonds Resource: Diamonds Location: 280 km northeast of Yellowknife Status: Hundreds of till samples from the eastern and western claims were collected during summer 2021. Those samples were to be shipped to a lab in Saskatoon for testing to detect kimberlite indicator minerals. The results are expected in early 2022, prior to the winter exploration season getting underway. Mountain Province holds a 100-per-cent interest in Kennady North, which covers more than 1,000 square km around the Gahcho Kue Mine. The Kelvin kimberlite contains an indicated 13.6 million carats while the Faraday 2 kimberlite contains an estimated 5.45 million carats. Project: NICO Owner: Fortune Minerals Resource: Gold, bismuth, cobalt, copper Location: 50 km northeast of Whati Status: Fortune Minerals announced a 3,000metre drill program to begin at the NICO deposit in late September. In early November, company president Robin Goad extended congratulations to the Tłı̨ chǫ people on the pending opening of the Tłı̨ chǫ All-Season Highway to Whati, which is expected to be accessible to the public on Nov. 30. Fortune Minerals has approvals to build a 50-km spur road from Whati to the NICO mine site. Project: Indin Lake Gold Owner: Nighthawk Gold Corp. Resource: Gold Location: 200 km north of Yellowknife Status: Nighthawk completed an ambitious 72,325-metre drill program over 272 drill holes in mid-October. Some of the drilling is intended to expand known mineralized zones while other targets were in greenfield areas of the 930-square-km property within the Indin Lake Greenstone Belt. Indin Lake contains an inferred 2.25 million ounces of indicated gold and 0.79 million ounces of inferred gold.
Solstice Gold’s Qaiqtuq property sprawls over 866 square kilometres between Rankin Inlet and Chesterfield Inlet. Photo courtesy of Solstice Gold Project: Prairie Creek Owner: NorZinc Resource: Zinc, lead, silver Location: 90 km northwest of Nahanni Butte Status: NorZinc’s mid-October preliminary economic assessment for the Prairie Creek project is based on a mine life of 20.3 years at 2,400 tonnes of ore per day. With $368 million required to get the mine started, it’s estimated that 261 million pounds of payable zinc equivalent production – including 2.6 million ounces of silver – is achievable annually, which would provide payback after 4.8 years. Over the life of the mine, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization are estimated at $2.5 billion cumulatively. The Prairie Creek mine is home to 9.8 million tonnes of measured and indicated resource at 22.7 per cent zinc equivalent. There’s potential for 6.4 million tonnes of inferred resources at 24.1 per cent zinc equivalent. Project: Diagras Owner: Arctic Star Exploration/Margaret Lake Diamonds Resource: Diamonds Location: 22 km northeast of Diavik diamond mine
Status: Arctic Star’s $2.1 million spring drilling program found five new kimberlites: Birch, Sequoia, Alder, Cedar and Black Spruce. Sequoia has the largest diamond count and the results “hint at a coarser diamond size distribution, as does the diamond indicator chemistry,” Arctic Star stated in late September. The company hired geophysical crews to fly close to 6,000 line kilometres by helicopter for surveying to identify more exploration targets for undiscovered kimberlites. Arctic Star also expanded its claims this year, broadening Diagras to 483 square km. NUNAVUT Project: Chidliak Owner: De Beers Resource: Diamonds Location: 120 km northeast of Iqaluit Status: The project has an inferred resource of more than 22 million carats from two kimberlites, but there are 41 kimberlites that have tested positive for the presence of diamonds. De Beers conducted a modest summer program at the site in 2021, maintaining the camp and data collection from sensors in the field. Continued on Page B9
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News North Nunavut
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Exploring on the land Continued from Page B7
Project: Back River Owner: Sabina Gold and Silver Resource: Gold Location: 364 km southwest of Cambridge Bay Status: Sabina is plowing ahead with pre-construction activities for the proposed Goose Mine, with work proceeding on the port facility and camp. Winter ice road construction and an exploration ramp at Umwelt are also on the agenda. “For the first time at Back River, site operations will continue yearround,” Bruce McLeod, Sabina’s president and CEO, said in early November. Sabina announced on Oct. 1 that it had raised $13.5 million through the markets. The money is needed for exploration expenses, according to the company. The company’s overall Back River mineral estimate is 6.32 million ounces of measured and indicated gold as well as 2.86 million ounces of inferred gold. An updated feasibility study released in March estimated $2 billion in post-tax net cash flow on gross revenues of $7 billion over the 15year life of the mine. Project: Hood River, Ulu Gold Owner: Blue Star Gold Corp. Resource: Gold Location: 125 km west of Bathurst Inlet Status: Blue Star’s 5,000-metre summer drill campaign over 25 holes produced 11.06 grams of gold per tonne over 2.18 m from a hole in the Gnu zone that previously turned up 52.7 g/t of gold over two metres. Another target returned 5.53 g/t of gold over 1.54 metres. Results from another 18 holes were still pending as of Oct. 28. “Continued strong results from the Gnu zone area drilling, located only 750 metres from the Flood zone deposit, and the new realization that multiple near-surface high grade gold zones may exist in this region is very encouraging,” CEO Grant Ewing stated. “Our technical team will continue to evaluate the results of the program as they become available over the coming weeks and update the geology models which will lead to prioritization of untested target zones in preparation for the next drill program.” The 9.5-square-km Ulu property lies 50 km north of the Arctic Circle in the Kitikmeot region. Based on past work, the Ulu boasts 605,000 ounces of measured and indicated gold and 226,000 ounces of inferred gold. Project: Sundog Gold Owner: New Break Resources Resource: Gold Location: 235 km west of Arviat Status: New Break is a new player in the Kivalliq region, reaching agreement with Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) in October to explore 94 square km of Inuit-owned lands. The project is known as Sundog. The Kivalliq Inuit Association will manage surface rights while NTI will administer mineral rights. Terms of the deal stipulate that if New Break formally files a discovery of one million estimated ounces of gold, then NTI will get a $1 million bonus payment, or $5 million for five million ounces. A Sundog feasibility study would be worth $3 million to NTI, while commercial production would result in a payment of $5 million to Nunavut Tunngavik. “We look forward to a productive working relationship, built on respect and our sincere desire to see the Sundog Project benefit the Inuit and New Break shareholders alike,” said Michael Farrant, president and CEO of New Break. New Break other Kivalliq exploration properties consist of Sy, Noomut/Esker and Angikuni Lake, which cover 220 square km in total.
ᐃᓕᒃᑯᐊᓄᑦ ᓯᕐᓗᐊᖓ ᐱᔭᒃᓴᖃᕐᔪᐊᖅᓯᒪᕗᖅ ᑕᐃᑲᓂ Nighthawk Gold’s Indin Lake ᓇᖕᒥᓂᖓᓐᓂ, ᓴᓇᔭᐅᓯᒪᔪᒥ 72,325-ᒦᑕᒥ ᐃᑰᑕᕐᓂᐅᔪᒥ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᖑᔪᒥ 272 ᐅᖓᑖᓂ ᐃᑰᑕᖅᑕᐅᔪᓂ ᐊᖕᒪᔪᓂ ᐱᔭᕇᓚᐅᖅᑐᒥ ᐅᒃᑐᐱᕆᐅᑉ–ᕿᑎᖅᐸᓯᐊᓂ.
The core shack has been a busy place at Nighthawk Gold’s Indin Lake property, where an industrious 72,325-metre drill program over 272 drill holes wrapped up in mid-October. Photo courtesy of Nighthawk Gold
Project: Naujaat Owner: North Arrow Minerals Resource: Diamonds Location: Nine km northeast of Naujaat Status: Processing of a 2,000-tonne bulk sample from the Naujaat Diamond Project was started in late October. Partner Burgundy Diamond Mines funded the $5.6-million initiative for the rights to earn a 40 per cent interest in the Naujaat Diamond Project. The purpose of this sample is to confirm that a unique population of fancy yellow to orange yellow diamonds extend into coarser diamond sizes. “The quality of these diamonds will also be very important as we believe these fancy coloured diamonds will be a key value driver for potential future development of the Q1-4 deposit,” said Ken Armstrong, president and CEO of North Arrow. Project: Meadowbank Owner: Western Atlas Resources Resource: Gold Location: Adjacent to Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank mine Status: Although the Meadowbank property garnered interest for its gold potential, Western Atlas Resources announced in April that it found nickel and polymetallic mineralization near the surface. One hole intersected 0.14 per cent nickel, 0.01 per cent cobalt, 0.28 per cent chromium, 9.11 per cent iron and 0.8 per cent sulfur over 95 metres from a depth of 18.73 metres. In September, the company served notice that it had amended its permits to allow it to drill up to 20,000 metres per year and enlarge the camp to a maximum of 40 people. Meadowbank covers 580 square km. Project: Committee Bay Owner: Fury Gold Mines Resource: Gold Location: 130 km southwest of Kugaaruk Status: Fury Gold announced in September that a five-hole, 2,587 metre drill program was complete. The focus was on an eight kilometre shear zone where the Raven prospect is located. In the past, Raven has yielded 31.1 grams of gold per tonne over 2.8 metres and 9.49 g/t gold over 7.57 metres. Results from this summer’s drill program had not been released publicly as of the first week of November. The overall property encompasses 270 square km along the Committee Bay Greenstone Belt. Project: Mel Owner: North Arrow Minerals Resource: Diamonds Location: 140 km south of Hall Beach Status: The last update regarding the Mel property came in February when North Arrow announced a data-sharing agreement with StrategX Elements Corp, which acquired the non-diamond mineral rights in the area. However, North Arrow retains a per cent royalty on non-diamond production. The Mel property encompasses 560 square kilometres. Project: CSI Owner: North Arrow Minerals Resource: Diamonds Location: West of the Jericho and Muskox kimberlites
Monday, November 22, 2021 B9
ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᓂᐅᔪᓂ ᕿᓪᓕᒐᓚᖕᓂᐅᔪᓂ ᒎᓗᒥ ᐃᒪᕐᒥ ᐱᔭᐅᔪᓂ New Break Resources’ Sundog ᓇᖕᒥᓂᖓᓂ, 235 ᑭᓛᒥᑐᒥ ᐱᓇᖕᓇᕐᒥ ᐊᕐᕕᐊᓂᑦ.
Visible flecks of gold panned from New Break Resources’ Sundog property, 235 kilometres west of Arviat. Photo courtesy of New Break Resources Status: CSI is a newly-staked project where North Arrow undertook a modest till sampling program in June. The property covers an area that “could potentially host a bedrock source for regionally anomalous kimberlite indicator mineral samples reported by earlier workers,” according to North Arrow. Project: Seal/Storm Owner: Aston Bay Holdings Resource: Copper, zinc, silver Location: 120 km south of Resolute Bay Status: Aston Bay Holdings’ partner American West Metals Limited spent three weeks performing a ground electromagnetic geophysical survey at the Storm copper project on Somerset Island over the summer. The work was intended to find extensions of the known mineralization along strike and at depth. A drilling campaign is anticipated in 2022. Storm encompasses a staggering 3000-sq-km area, including the Seal zinc and silver project. Project: South Kitikmeot Gold Owner: Silver Range Resources Resource: Gold Location: 276 to 432 km south of Kugluktuk Status: Silver Range revealed in August that it optioned the South Kitikmeot Gold Project to Australian company Viridis Mining. The property covers “known gold occurrences along a 200 km long package of metasedimentary rocks which host the Lupin Mine (3.4 million ounces gold production to date) and the Back River Project (5.3 million ounces gold measured and indicated resources) currently being advanced to production by Sabina Gold and Silver Ltd.,” Silver Range stated. Project: Greyhound Owner: Gold 79 Resources/Agnico Eagle Resource: Gold/silver Location: 40 km northeast of Baker Lake Status: Agnico Eagle is the operating partner at the 13.6-squarekm Greyhound property, which lies 32 km south of Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank gold mine. Gold 79 Resources, formerly known as Aura Resources, holds a 37 per cent interest. Agnico Eagle was expected to undertake an 1,100-metre, eight hole drill program in May, but no results were announced as of early November.
B10 Monday, November 22, 2021
News North Nunavut
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Rebounding from a rocky year
Some of the North’s eight operating mines show signs of recovery after pandemic slowdown By Derek Neary Northern News Services
Below is a summary of developments from operating mines in the NWT and Nunavut. Northwest Territories Mine: Gahcho Kue Owner: De Beers Canada (51 per cent) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49 per cent) Resource: Diamonds Location: 280 km northeast of Yellowknife
Update: Quarter three 2021 saw 1.56 million carats extracted at Gahcho Kue, a 13 per cent decline from the third quarter in 2020 and an 11 per cent reduction from the 1.76 million carats recovered in quarter two 2021. However, with 4.7 million carats in hand year to date, Gahcho Kue remains on pace to hit its target of 6.3 million to 6.5 million carats for the full year. In 2020, a total of 6.5 million carats were mined. The average grade of diamonds recovered in quarter three 2021 was 1.88 carats per tonne, down 14 per cent from 2.19 carats per tonne a year earlier. Mountain Province Diamonds’ share of diamond sales in the third quarter of 2021 was one million carats for $93.9 million. De Beers, as a private company, is not obligated to report its sales figures.
Mine: Diavik Owner: Rio Tinto Resource: Diamonds Location: 300 km northeast of Yellowknife Update: On Nov. 18, Rio Tinto officially acquired the 40 per cent share previously held by Dominion Diamond Mines, making Diavik the sole owner of the diamond mine. Rio Tinto’s share of third quarter 2021 diamonds at Diavik amounted to 834,000 carats, which was down 17 per cent from the third quarter a year earlier and a two per cent decrease from quarter two of 2021. Over the first nine months of 2021, Rio Tinto yielded 2.69 million carats, which was five per cent off from the first nine months of 2021. Rio Tinto attributed the year over year decrease in the third quarter to lower grades of diamonds and a smaller volume of processed ore. Diavik recovered 6.2 million carats in 2020 compared to 6.7 million carats in 2019, according to the NWT Geological Survey. Diavik is scheduled to close in 2025. Mine: Ekati Owner: Arctic Canadian Diamond Company Resource: Diamonds Location: 310 km northeast of Yellowknife Update: The past 18 months have been more tumultuous at Ekati than either of the other NWT diamond mines. Ekati was placed on care and maintenance status for most of 2020 due to Covid-19. Dominion Diamond Mines, the former owner of Ekati, subsequently sought creditor protection. A sale of the company’s assets to Arctic Canadian Diamond Company followed in the first several weeks of 2021. That deal entailed an $85 million commitment of working capital and honouring $70 million in outstanding debt. Mining resumed in January. Over the past few months, Arctic Canadian Diamond Company has been pushing for regulatory permission to drain Point Lake – 73.5 acres – for an open-pit project that the company argues is essential to keep Ekati viable. The Mackenzie Valley Review Board stated in October that an environmental assessment for the project will not be required. However, a public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 22-26 and a final decision is expected in March 2022. Mine: Nechalacho Owner: Avalon Advanced Materials Resource: Rare earths Location: 100 km southeast of Yellowknife Update: Cheetah Resources’ decision to purchase the rights to near-surface resources in Nechalacho’s T-zone and Tardiff zone at Thor Lake for $5 million in 2019 paid off in 600,000 tonnes of ore being shipped for processing after several months of mining this year. The Australian company, the Canadian subsidiary to Vital Metals, announced growing demand for its product in October as Norwegian firm REEtec AS agreed to purchase 50 per cent more rare earths than in its original deal. As well, a memorandum of understanding was signed with Ucore Rare Metals for a supply of mixed rare earth carbonate beginning in the first half of 2024.
Continued on Page B11
ᔅᑕᕙᓂ ᐳᐊᑐᕋᔅ, ᐅᔭᕋᐅᔭᓄᑦ ᐃᑲᔪᕈᑎᒃᓴᓂ ᐱᓕᕆᔨᒻᒪᕆᒃ, ᕼᐊᓐᑐᕆᒃ ᕚᓪᒃ, ᐊᐅᓚᑦᑎᔨᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᑲᔪᕈᑎᒃᓴᓂ ᓂᖏᖅᑕᕐᓂᓂ ᐊᑐᐊᒐᕐᒧᑦ, ᐊᒻᒪ ᕋᐃ ᐊᖑᓚᕝ, ᐊᐅᓚᑕᐅᓂᖓᓂ ᐊᐅᓚᑦᑎᔨᐅᔪᖅ Cheetah Resource–ᑯᓐᓂ ᒪᑐᐃᖅᓯᕗᑦ ᐴᕐᒥ ᓯᖃᓪᓕᓯᒪᔪᓂ ᐱᑕᖃᒐᔪᙱᕕᒃᔪᐊᖅᑐᓂ ᓄᓇᒥ ᑕᕆᐅᕐᒥ ᐅᓯᑲᑦᑕᕐᓂᐅᔪᒥ ᐱᔨᑦᑎᕋᕐᓂᐅᔪᒥ ᕼᐊᐃ ᕆᕗᕐᒥ, ᐅᒃᑐᐱᕆ 25–ᒥ.
GNWT mineral resource specialist Stephane Poitras, left, GNWT manager of resource royalty policy Hendrik Falck and Cheetah Resources’ operations manager Ray Anguelov stand with an open a bag of crushed rare earths from Nechalacho. The product was shipped to the Marine Transportation Services site in Hay River in October. Simon Whitehouse/ NNSL photo
News North Nunavut
Monday, November 22, 2021 B11
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Gahcho Kue ᑕᐃᒪᓐᒧᑦ ᐅᔭᕋᖕᓂᐊᕐᕕᖓ Hearne ᐅᔭᕋᖕᓂᐊᕐᕕᖓ, ᓯᕗᓂᐊᓂ, ᐊᒻᒪ 5034 ᐅᔭᕋᖕᓂᐊᕐᕕᖓ, ᕿᑎᐊᓂ, ᖃᖓᑕᓲᒥ ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᓂᐅᔪᒥ.
The Gahcho Kue diamond mine’s Hearne pit, foreground, and 5034 pit, centre, as seen from the air. Photo courtesy of De Beers Group
Baffinland awaits minister’s decision Continued from Page B10 Det’on Cho Nahanni Construction, which is owned by the Yellowknives Dene, benefitted from this year’s mining through an $8-million agreement to provide mining and equipment services at the site. The Nechalacho Mine is a high-grade, rare earths project with a world-class resource of 94.7 million tonnes at 1.46 per centTREO, in the measured, indicated and inferred categories. NUNAVUT Project: Mary River Owner: Baffinland Iron Mines Resource: Iron Location: 160 km south of Pond Inlet Status: Baffinland is awaiting a decision from Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal on the fate of its proposed phase two expansion project, which the company insists is essential to keeping the mine economically viable. The Nunavut Impact Review Board, after concluding public hearings in Iqaluit on Nov. 6, was to make a recommendation to Vandal. Baffinland is seeking to increase production at Mary River to 12 million tonnes of iron ore per year from the existing limit of six million tonnes annually. That would entail a 110-km railway and increased shipping, which has elicited repeated concerns from community members and organizations about potential impacts on terrestrial animals and marine life. Many Inuit still hunt some of those animals for sustenance. Baffinland shipped 5.45 million tonnes of iron ore from Mary River in 2020, a decrease from 5.93 million tonnes in 2019. Project: Meliadine Owner: Agnico Eagle Mines Resource: Gold Location: 25 km north of Rankin Inlet Status: Meliadine achieved a record quarter by producing 97,024 ounces of gold during July, August and September of 2021. Agnico Eagle is striving to extract 370,000 ounces of gold from the project in 2021. Meliadine produced 318,889 ounces of gold and 27,016 ounces of silver in 2020. It cost the company $786 to mine each ounce of gold in 2020. Agnico Eagle is aiming to reduce that cost per ounce to $736 this year. The site has gold reserves of four million ounces with a mine life projected to 2032. In addition, Nunavummiut workers were fully returned to work as of October after having been sent home in March 2020 due to the safety risks posed by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Project: Amaruq Owner: Agnico Eagle Mines Resource: Gold Location: 160 km northwest of Baker Lake Status: Amaruq churned out 89,076 ounces of gold during the third quarter of 2021. Agnico Eagle has a target of 370,000 ounces of gold at Amaruq this year. Amaruq yielded 209,413 ounces of gold and 62,679 ounces of silver in 2020. The company spent $1,436 per ounce of gold in 2020. The goal in 2021 is to lower those expenditures to $917 per ounce. The mine has gold reserves of 2.9 million ounces and is expected to remain in production until 2026. “Nunavut has the potential to be a strategic operating platform for the company with the ability to generate strong gold production and cash flows over several decades,” Agnico Eagle stated of its existing
operations and the prospect of extending the mine life at all of its sites via exploration. Project: Hope Bay Owner: Agnico Eagle Mines Resource: Gold Location: 125 km southwest of Cambridge Bay Status: Agnico Eagle chose to ramp down production at Hope Bay in October due to a Covid-19 outbreak at the site and an increasing number of cases of the virus in Alberta, which is the primary location
for transporting crews to the mine. Because Agnico Eagle acquired Hope Bay and its Doris North gold mine from TMAC Resources in February, the project isn’t yet included in Agnico Eagle’s “cost or capital expenditure guidance for 2021, nor included in its year-end 2020 mineral reserve and mineral resource estimates,” according to the company. However, Agnico Eagle budgeted $16.2 million for 69,600 metres of drilling in the area in 2021. Sitting on a 80-km by 20-km Archean greenstone belt, Hope Bay – where 17,957 ounces of gold was extracted in the third quarter of 2021 – is considered to have vast exploration potential.
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