BTY’s previous Market Intelligence reported on the $778 million being invested in the north for roads, ports, geomapping and research north of 60 as part of the public and private investment supporting mineral resource development.
That infrastructure investment is paying off with a rising tide of projects north – and south – of 60.
Despite the current cyclic downturn in commodity prices and associated financing hurdles, it is expected that mining north of 60 will double by 2020, with a forecast annual growth rate of nearly 7.5% in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut compared to 2.2% in the rest of Canada.
At the start of 2014, there were more than 30 major projects either entering or moving through the environmental assessment and permitting processes across the three territories, with an estimated capital investment of over $25 billion.
Some of the leading projects include the largest new diamond mine under development globally, as well as projects for gold, copper, zinc, iron, cobalt, and rare earth minerals.
South of 60, the development of the Ring of Fire, Ontario’s mineral rich district in the province’s northwest, has been stymied by delays in the construction of infrastructure and power supply. The region is estimated to hold deposits worth $60-billion worth of minerals, with chromite being the most important. The government of Ontario has pledged $1 billion to build a road that would provide access.
Similarly, the Quebec government has revived its commitment to the Plan du Nord, the province’s ambitious plan to make natural resources the centrepiece of its economic development, with funding for road infrastructure and improvements as a feasibility study for a new rail line.