Northern Mines Ministers’ Conference


OTTAWA, Ontario, November 26, 2004 – Ministers responsible for mining in the territories met today at the Northern Mines Ministers' Conference to discuss key mining issues under the theme: "From Discovery to Closure: Responsible Mining in Canada’s North." This conference is part of the Government of Canada's and territorial governments' ongoing commitment to working cooperatively on pan-northern mining issues and economic development.

The day-long meeting was co-hosted by Andy Scott, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and Ethel Blondin-Andrew, Minister of State for Northern Development. Participants also included David Simailak, Minister of Economic Development and Transportation for the Government of Nunavut, Brendan Bell, Minister of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development for the Government of Northwest Territories, and Archie Lang, Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources for the Government of Yukon.

"I am very pleased to participate in this forum for the first time as Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs. Responsible mining in the North and improved coordination with territorial colleagues, mining industry representatives, Aboriginal leaders and environmental advocates will contribute to a promising future for Northerners,” said Minister Scott.

“Not only will the conference help advance the issue of responsible mining for the benefit of Northerners, but the outcomes will also contribute to the ongoing development of the Northern Strategy, announced in the 2004 Speech from the Throne,” said Minister of State Blondin.

“Nunavut’s mining industry holds a great deal of potential, with over $120 million spent on exploration in the territory this summer. This promise for the future will increasingly provide sustainable and substantive benefits to Nunavummiut and Canadians,” said David Simailak, Minister of Economic Development and Transportation from Nunavut. “Today’s discussions are significant to developing Nunavut’s mineral sector and I appreciate the collaboration of all Ministers and mining industry representatives. I look forward to working with industry regarding their opportunities and with both Ministers Scott and Blondin-Andrew to see that the opportunities benefit all parties. Next June in Cambridge Bay will provide a great opportunity for us to continue our work together.”

“I am pleased Northern Mines Ministers are focusing attention our on geoscience because it is the foundation for resource development in northern Canada,” said Minister Brendan Bell. “It is important that all northern governments work together to provide this scientific research to assist in mineral and natural resource exploration, land use planning, water resources management, sustainable development and adapting to climate change.”

“The Yukon government is making important strides to improve the regulatory efficiencies and ensure mining developments are managed in a sound and sustainable manner,” said Yukon Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Archie Lang. “By way of example, our government is developing a made-in-Yukon mine reclamation and closure policy to create additional certainty for the mining industry, contribute to a successful permitting regime, encourage new investment and respect the environment and our communities.”

The conference is a forum for representatives from the mining industry, Aboriginal organizations and governments, and environmental groups to share their views with the Ministers responsible for mining in the North. During the conference, the Ministers heard presentations from several stakeholder groups on issues that are important to mining in the North, and then met privately to discuss these and other mining-related issues. The day closed with a press conference where the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to working cooperatively to ensure that Northerners and all Canadians can capitalize on the potential of Canada’s North.

The first Northern Mines Ministers’ Conference was held in Yellowknife in April 2002 in response to recommendations by the Industry Government Overview Committee (IGOC). IGOC proposed a federal-territorial forum to review mining issues and work towards encouraging investment in northern mineral development. IGOC’s membership includes representatives of the mining industry, the territorial governments, northern Aboriginal organizations, Natural Resources Canada and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The 2nd Conference was held in Dawson, Yukon, in 2003.


This release is also available in electronic format at

For more information, please contact:

Diane Laursen

Laurie Sthamann
Government of Yukon

Karen Kabloona
Government of Nunavut

Judy McLinton
Government of the NWT