Million-dollar resources
Geologist sets up new office in Nunavut

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

IQALUIT (Oct 18/99) - Gold, diamonds, oil or gas -- no matter what type of mineral deposit you might be looking for, Nunavut has it.

That's what makes David Scott the man of the hour.

Hired to work as the chief geologist in the brand new Canada-Nunavut geosciences office in Nunavut's capital, Scott's first task at hand is to set up the office and begin the collection of much-needed new geological data.

"One disadvantage we have in Nunavut is that we're relatively far behind in what we know about the resources of the land. We've got the basic rock types and where they are, but the details aren't there at all," said Scott.

Reporting to a tripartite management board that's made up of the office's funders (the federal departments of Natural Resources and Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Nunavut's Department of Sustainable Development), Scott will oversee the hiring of the rest of the staff.

Some of whom will go out into the field next summer to map and collect data in three different field locations around Nunavut.

The data that's collected will literally put Nunavut on the map and in a fledgling territory in need of a strong economic base, anything that might lure new industry to Nunavut is good news.

"There's a lot of support out there for Nunavut in the mineral industry. There's a lot of juicy geology and ... it will certainly raise the profile of Nunavut and make it more attractive for exploration companies to come and sniff around," said Scott.

A second and equally important component of the new mineral program involves bringing the existing information up to modern technology's standards.

Scott explained that mining and exploration companies, which make up the largest part of NRCan's client base, have to see that the homework has been done before they can convince their owners to invest dollars in exploration.

In order to accomplish as much of their work as possible before the initial funds dry up in 2003, Scott said that a series of trained professionals would train and work alongside beneficiaries.

He said this would make the office run more smoothly while ensuring that local communities and residents were kept informed and involved.

"The days of flying in, flying out and taking the money and running are gone. We're going to offer as many possibilities as we can in fieldwork and here in the office. That's a long-term solution."