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Harper Government Supports Geoscience Research in the North

Nuvaipa 14, 2014

News Release

For Immediate Release


Harper Government Supports Geoscience Research in the North

Projects will Advance Geoscience Knowledge in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories


November 14, 2014 – Iqaluit, NU – Office of the Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), and Minister for the Arctic Council.

Minister Aglukkaq today announced funding for projects in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories that will enhance geological knowledge, support infrastructure and major resource development, the mining sector and cultural industries. The Government of Canada is investing more than $6.7 million in these geoscience research projects. Combined with contributions from partners, this results in a total investment of over $12.4 million in geoscience research which will help to create jobs and prosperity for Northerners.

The Northwest Territories Geoscience Office and the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office will lead the projects in their respective regions. Each project will provide significant data and research which will be available to governments, academics, prospectors and companies. The projects will also enhance awareness of geological potential across Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.


Quick Facts


  • Canada’s northern territories are rich in precious and base metals, including iron ore, uranium, gold, diamonds, zinc, rare earths as well as natural gas and oil.
  • There are currently five active mines in both territories providing approximately 3,900 jobs.
  • Since 2009, CanNor has invested over $22 million for geoscience data and research in the North.
  • CanNor’s Northern Projects Management Office is currently working with over 30 industry clients to advance potential major resource exploration or development projects across the North, which represent over $26 billion in capital investment and more than 12,000 jobs.




"Our Government is committed to creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity in the North. These projects will bring a range of economic benefits and opportunities to Northerners. Reliable information about mineral deposits and energy resources is essential to attract investment for resource development and support the dynamic, economic growth we are seeing across the North.”

Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and Minister for the Arctic Council



“Geological mapping helps generate economic development in the North. This information could aid in responsible resource, business and skills development for Nunavut through expansion of the mineral and energy sector.”


George Kuksuk
Nunavut’s Minister of Economic Development and Transportation


“This project will provide industry, governments and communities with valuable information about mineral potential and permafrost conditions in the Slave Geological Province. Investing in geoscience research was a key recommendation of the Mineral Development Strategy, released by the Government of the Northwest Territories in 2013. These initiatives provide greater certainty for investors and industry, and will help to promote long-term sustainable mining for decades.”


David Ramsay
Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment
Government of the Northwest Territories



Associated Links   

CanNor supports geoscience research in the North (November 2010)





For further information, please contact:


Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Jonathan Lefebvre


Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
Craig Welsh
Communications Advisor, Nunavut Region

 CanNor works to help develop a diversified, sustainable and dynamic economy across Canada's three territories, and delivers on its northern mandate through funding programs, the Northern Projects Management Office and by undertaking policy and research.


Northwest Territories Geoscience Office
John Ketchum


Canada Nunavut Geoscience Office
Holly Steenkamp
Regional Mapping Geoscientist


Government of Nunavut
Matthew Illaszewicz
Manager, Communications


For more information about CanNor, visit cannor.gc.ca

For more information on Canada’s Northern Strategy, visit: northernstrategy.ca









Geoscience Projects Support Economic Development in Nunavut


CanNor is investing over $3.3 million for 11 geoscience projects in Nunavut over the next two years. Along with investments from partners, this investment of nearly $7.1 million will enhance the level of geological knowledge of the territory and will support the development of the mining sector, cultural industries, and infrastructure. The projects will be led by the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Economic Development and Transportation in partnership with the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office (CNGO).


CanNor funding: $3,347,560

Government of Nunavut and partners funding: $3,752,000

Total:  $7,099,560



1. Targeted Bedrock Mapping on Southern Baffin Island

The CNGO will conduct targeted mapping and sampling on newly discovered mineral showings; identify and document new mineral resources in Clearwater Fiord and Meta Incognita; and create aeromagnetic maps for areas north of Hall Peninsula. This information will improve baseline geoscience information and details on these new mineral showings and inform land-use and exploration decision making.


2. Targeted Bedrock Mapping in the Elu Basin

The project will occur in the Elu Basin in western Arctic, and will gather new geoscience information including data on the deposit architecture of the Basin, prospective bedrock units, and style of mineralization. This improved geoscience knowledge will support potential mineral exploration in the region.


3. Lake Sediment Geochemistry

A new lake sediment geochemical survey will be conducted north of Iqaluit on southern Baffin Island in 2015. Regional lake sediment geochemical surveys are a quick and efficient way to provide baseline information on the metal potential in large, under-explored areas. These results help lower the risks and costs to mineral exploration.


4. Studies for Baffin Bay

Office-based studies will be conducted in Baffin Bay, including Devon Island and northern Baffin Island, to identify the distribution, stratigraphic position and age of petroleum source rocks to better assess petroleum resources in the region.


 5. Industrial Limestone on Southampton Island

 Studies will be conducted on southwestern Southampton Island to help determine the position and geographic distribution of high-calcium limestone that could be used by the mining industry in Nunavut.  The study will provide an assessment of its purity, and identify potential quarry locations.


6. New Carving Stone on Baffin Island

New carving stone prospects have been found on Hall Peninsula and large artisan grade deposits are being further explored at Opingivik (Cumberland Sound), Mary River, and on Melville Peninsula. This project will conduct detailed mapping and resource evaluations at these locations to help assess their potential as new community- or regional-scale carving stone deposits. These deposits could become significant new quarries for Nunavut supporting Inuit carvers and the arts and crafts industry.


7. Satellite Data aids Exploration Data and Cost Reduction

This project will illustrate the cost-benefit of using new, more advanced remote sensing sensors to assist with targeting exploration work in the territory. Results from this project could help exploration companies both reduce their exploration costs and provide a means to focus on the most promising areas of interest. 


8. Mapping of the Seabed of Frobisher Bay

CNGO, the Government of Nunavut’s Nuliajuk research vessel and Natural Resources Canada will collaborate to map the seabed of Frobisher Bay. The main objective is to develop new geoscience maps that will help define risks to infrastructure development in Frobisher Bay and solutions that will be needed to build and maintain any infrastructure


9. Permafrost-Infrastructure Analysis

A multi-disciplinary approach is proposed to study terrain hazards and permafrost sensitivity to warming. The study will focus on the Iqaluit airport and results will be used to evaluate the stability of infrastructure, permafrost sensitivity, and the risks to infrastructure associated with projected climate scenarios.


10. Geoscience in Western Hudson Bay

The objective of this project is to compile all existing aggregate, mineral potential, surficial and permafrost data in a corridor approximately 50 km wide extending from the Manitoba border to Rankin Inlet along the Western Hudson Bay coast. This information will contribute to decision-making for potential future large-scale road infrastructure development in the region.


11. Geoscience Data Dissemination

This project will update Nunavut’s mineral showings database, including extracting and compiling new mineral showings from over 200 industry assessment reports valued at approximately a billion dollars.  New Nunavut geoscience data will be made available online, contributing to better understanding of natural resources, planning and investment decisions.


CanNor Programs

Investment in this project is made possible through CanNor's Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) program, which focuses on long-term economic growth, economic diversification and capacity-building across the North. SINED is one of several economic development programs within CanNor.

CanNor works to help develop a diversified, sustainable and dynamic economy across Canada’s three territories, and delivers on its northern mandate through funding programs, the Northern Projects Management Office and by undertaking policy and research.