Time to move
Nunavut leaders support mining

by Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 13/98) - Nunavut leaders clearly supported mining in their presentations at one of the North's largest resources events -- the Nunavut Mining Symposium.

"Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated has always supported mining. We are open for business when it comes to mining," NTI first vice- president James Eetoolook said.

Representing the Inuit of Nunavut, NTI implements the Inuit obligations of the Nunavut land claim agreement.

Eetoolook also said that prior to the land claim agreement, the Inuit "wondered" about what the companies were doing.

But now, with the land claim, "we are part of it," Eetoolook said.

"Our vision is to realize full potential (we) can't wait for government," added Kitikmeot Corporation president Charlie Lyall.

Nunavut holds rich resources, yet many Kitikmeot businesses struggle and many Kitikmeot youth quit school, he said.

Contributing to business and social challenges is the region's high cost of living due largely to its remoteness.

But news this year that deep sea ships could navigate Bathurst Inlet is "significant for the Kitikmeot," Lyall said.

"We want to own or control (the infrastructure)."

That includes roads, ships and ports.

Through mining, the Kitikmeot can build its economy and strive for self-sufficiency to improve the lives of its people, he said.

The GNWT currently depends on the federal government for about 75 per cent of its revenue. After division, Nunavut will depend on Ottawa for 95 to 98 per cent of its revenue, Finance Minister John Todd said.

Speaking on the Baffin region's mineral resources and development, Qikiqtaaluk Corporation president Jerry Ell, said the same questions are still being asked and "not much has changed."

Ell, citing the recent Fraser Institute mining company survey ranking the NWT second last in Canada on accessibility but first on attractiveness for investment based on its geology, said: "We'd like to make (access) easier" when it comes to resources.

Ell called for action and policy and a quick resolution to the issues.

"If there is no impact there is no benefit," he said.

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