Geoscience and Exploration

Nunavut Mineral Exploration & Mining Overview 2018

Tuesday, November 20, 2018 - 09:00 to 09:19 Theatre 1


M. Senkow (Presenting)
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Nunavut Regional Office

In 2018, Nunavut is continuing its shift from primarily exploration-stage projects to more producing mines and advanced stage projects. The territory has two operating gold mines, Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank and TMAC Resources’ Doris, as well as the Mary River iron mine owned by Baffinland Iron Mines. Although production from Meadowbank is scheduled to cease in 2019, Agnico Eagle is bringing the Whale Tail satellite deposit online to replace it, and will also initiate production from Meliadine next year.

Spending intentions for mineral exploration and deposit appraisal have declined to $110 million in 2018, down from $169 million in 2017, according to the statistics released by Natural Resources Canada. This places Nunavut sixth in Canada for mineral exploration spending. Consistent with the last several years, exploration for gold accounts for most of that total, with lesser amount spent on base metals, diamonds, iron, and uranium.

However, Nunavut saw an increase in the total value of mineral production in 2017, amounting to $844 million, of which $594 million was gold and $249 million was iron, placing the territory fifth in Canada. With two new mines approaching production, Nunavut has also seen an increase in mine complex development and capital assets spending.

Significant advances were made at Sabina Gold and Silver Corp.’s Back River gold project in 2018. The company obtained its Type B water licence for completion of pre-construction infrastructure work and received a positive recommendation for issuance of its Type A licence. The marine laydown area and landing were completed, paving the way for re-supply through sealifts. Drilling identified the new Nuvuak high-grade gold target. Sabina also finalized its Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement and Long Term Land Tenure Agreement with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association.

Several other gold projects were active in 2018: Auryn Resources Inc. continued exploring the Committee Bay project, conducting diamond and rotary air-blast drilling, as well as till sampling. Solstice Gold Corporation, spun off from Dunnedin Ventures Inc. in 2017 to explore the gold potential at its Kahuna diamond project, conducted prospecting, geological mapping, and till sampling over high priority areas. Silver Range Resources Ltd. conducted exploration for Pilbara-style gold mineralization at its Tree River property.

De Beers Canada Inc. purchased Peregrine Diamonds Ltd., acquiring the Chidliak diamond project and several other projects in Nunavut and Northwest Territories. North Arrow Minerals Inc. discovered a second kimberlite, ML345, on its Mel property to follow-up the diamondiferous ML8 discovery in 2017. Dunnedin Ventures also discovered a new kimberlite at Kahuna.

Aston Bay Holdings Ltd. completed 3,100 metres of drilling at its Storm Copper and Seal Zinc projects on Somerset Island.

Nunavut is continuing to draw interest in its mineral potential and it is encouraging to see an increase in the metals produced and the number of producing mines.