Community Engagement and Education

Department of Industry Tourism and Investment Resource Development Outreach Activities

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 8:40am to 9:00am Theatre Three


L. Powell (Presenting)
Northwest Territories Geological Survey
M. Paddey (Presenting)
Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, GNWT

The Northwest Territories (NWT) has a long history of non-renewable resource development and surveys indicate that NWT residents generally have a favourable perception of mineral and oil and gas development. However, gaps in knowledge and misconceptions about this sector are common and undermine informed decision-making. The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) has implemented a number of outreach initiatives that aim to increase public awareness of resource development. Activities of particular note are: Introduction to Prospecting courses, Mining Matters educational and outreach programs, and the Resource and Energy Development Information (REDI) initiative.

Since 2014, a total of 11 Introduction to Prospecting courses have been offered in Yellowknife, Hay River, Behchoko, Dettah, and Inuvik. During this two-day course, students learn about mineral exploration in the NWT, get first hand prospecting experience, and receive NWT prospecting licenses. Many participants later stake claims and some have even sold their properties to mineral exploration companies. Introduction to Prospecting courses are supported by a partnership between ITI, the Mine Training Society, and other industry partners that have included TerraX Minerals and Osisko Minerals.

ITI has partnered with industry, community and educational partners to deliver the Mining Matters programs in the Sahtu and Dehcho regions as well as Yellowknife and Hay River. Mining Matters is a charitable organization that provides mineral and geological programming to elementary and secondary school students, as well as professional development training to teachers across the country. Mining Matters student programs are designed for short term school visits based on the students’ grade level.  The programs compliment established curriculum requirements, and are worked out in advance between the schools and Mining Matters instructors. Mining Matters professional development workshops provide teachers with curriculum-linked resources including rock and mineral samples, mineral testing equipment, posters, student handouts, and games, along with lesson-plans and a tutorial of how to implement these resources in the classroom. Mining Matter programs were first offered in 2016.

REDI is an ITI-led initiative that requires multi-departmental participation as well as partnerships with various non-government partners. ITI will continue to add additional partners as REDI evolves. REDI was formally launched as a tradeshow-style event at the Arctic Energy and Emerging Technologies conference in Inuvik in June 2017. Follow up events took place in Hay River (November 2017), Yellowknife (June 2018), Fort Simpson (October 2018), and Norman Wells (February 2019).

The success we have witnessed from these efforts would not have been possible without key partnerships with industry, academia, and other non-government organizations. Further partnerships will be needed to help meet the expanding community demand for resource development focused outreach.