By: Creamer Media Reporter
JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has welcomed the renewal of the Geomapping for Energy and Minerals (GEM) programme, saying that it will help facilitate exploration activities in the northern parts of the country.
The federal government has committed a further $100-million over seven years to the GEM programme, building on a previous allocation of $100-million over five years from the 2008 Budget.
“This continued investment in surveying will help the industry better determine where mineral deposits are located and, ultimately, where the next generation of Canadian mines can be developed,” commented MAC president and CEO Pierre Gratton.
He said it made sense for companies conducting exploration to spend their high-risk dollars in areas where good geological data was available in order to heighten the chances of finding a deposit.
“By developing a broader body of reliable geological information, Canada is enhancing its attractiveness as a destination for mineral exploration investment.”
Canada's three territories – Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon – are rich in resources, including gold, diamonds, rare earths, copper, zinc and lead, and geomapping and exploration will help to identify more types of deposits in the region.
MAC stated that roughly three-quarters of the GEM spending was directed toward investment in three territories, where the mapping needs were most acute.
The minerals industry has played an important role to date in facilitating northern development, with gross domestic product contributions in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut of 24.2% and 2% respectively. In 2012, the three territories attracted nearly $450-million in exploration investment.
“There is great interest in Canada's northern mineral potential and the GEM programme is critical to mapping out mineral opportunities in a region where geoscience knowledge is currently lacking," said Gratton.
The GEM programme renewal follows positive skills training announcements from Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his northern tour, including $5.8-million over two years to support the Northwest Territories Mine Training Society for a new mining sector-skills training programme in the Northwest Territories and in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut.
Earlier in the week, Harper also announced support for the creation of a new Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining to be housed within Yukon College, in Whitehorse, a $5.6-million investment over four years.