Geoscience and Exploration

Northwest Territories Geological Survey Overview for 2018

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 08:40 to 08:59 Theatre 1


J.W.F. Ketchum (Presenting)
NWT Geological Survey

With a territorial election scheduled for late 2019, there is an ongoing effort by the Government of Northwest Territories (GNWT) to complete priority actions and initiatives mandated by the 18th Legislative Assembly. The Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) is active on several of these initiatives. NTGS staff are helping to implement the Climate Change Strategic Framework, the Knowledge Agenda, and an initiative currently termed the Knowledge Economy. We also participate in a multi-departmental committee that focuses on Yellowknife-area legacy contamination. NTGS collaborates extensively with other divisions of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment and with the departments of Infrastructure, Lands, and Environment and Natural Resources. Our primary goal is to be a reliable source of impartial advice and research-based information – in other words, to fulfill the “honest broker” role that geological surveys across Canada strive for.

In terms of more traditional work objectives, the NTGS remains focused on projects that address important geoscience knowledge gaps. Most of these projects also anticipate future needs associated with resource exploration, land use decisions, and understanding the effects of climate change. For example, bedrock mapping continues in the Archean Slave Province in the region of a proposed all-weather road. Although several greenstone belts in this region are withdrawn from mineral claim staking, others remain open and have been prioritized for detailed remapping. Similarly, the undeveloped Mactung tungsten deposit has seen renewed mapping and NTGS-supported graduate student work in order to update the geoscience knowledge of this world-class resource. The Cantung mine area is also being studied to better understand the bedrock geology of the deposit and the area and the potential for recovery of tungsten mineralization from mine tailings.

Permafrost research at the NTGS has a current northern focus as thaw slump and landslide activity increases and the Dempster and Inuvik-to-Tuktoyaktuk highways experience permafrost-related change. There is a need for additional permafrost research capacity within the GNWT to address fundamental goals of the Climate Change Strategic Framework. The NTGS appreciates the efforts of senior managers and other departments and research groups in recognizing and addressing this need.

Petroleum geoscience research continues to target basin evolution, thermal modelling, and petroleum potential of the Central Mackenzie Valley region with a focus on the Devonian Horn River Group shales. Another project has gathered information on conventional discovered natural gas resources that are relatively shallow and close to infrastructure. Some of these resources may be amenable for additional study and possible development. The Petroleum Geosciences Group is also seeking funds for geothermal research and is co-hosting a one-day geothermal workshop immediately following this Geoscience Forum.

Geoscience information, geomatics, and information technology services and client-focused projects continue to be capably addressed by two working groups within the NTGS. The Mining Incentive Program, geoscience education and outreach, NTGS publications, map production, web services, and other activities delivered by these groups both underpin and complement the research-related work conducted by most other NTGS staff.