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NNSL Photo/graphic

Being able to volunteer with the NWT Geoscience Office during the 34th Geoscience Forum was a huge opportunity that university students Brodie Sutherland, left, University of Alberta; Chris Leslie, University of British Columbia; and Gabe Fortin, University of Alberta; couldn't pass up. - David Ryan/NNSL photo

Mine companies see good times

David Ryan
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 22/06) - A booming mining and exploration industry is helping to put a twinkle in the eye of most delegates at the 34th annual Geoscience Forum.

Commodity prices continue to be strong and it's a good time to be doing business in the North, said Percy Pacor, Dundee Precious Metals project manager for Back River.

"There is lots of work out there," he said.

Part of doing business includes meeting with regulators, working out any hiccups and maintaining one-on-one contact, said Pamela Strand, Shear Minerals president and chief executive officer.

Being able to attend the forum gives her exploration company an opportunity to do that critical type of work, she added. The gathering served as an ideal time for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to roll out a trio of funding announcements for the North.

Nunavut and the NWT will each benefit from $6 million worth of federal geoscience activities over the next three years through the Targeted Investment Program.

Additionally, INAC has pledged almost $800,000 over the next two years towards the purchase of underground mine training simulators.

A cross section of the more than 840 delegates at the event includes geologists, prospectors, government officials and mining and exploration company officials.

Having such a wide variety of representation makes networking easy, said Dave Webb, president and chief executive officer with Tyhee Development Corp.

"This is an opportunity to see people, network and talk about what's not published," he said.

The Geoscience Forum has helped lay the groundwork for the mining industry in Yellowknife and the NWT, said Carl Clouter, a 30-year prospector and company director with Fortune Minerals.

"I was here when it was just a prospectors' press-up party," said Darcy Mercredi, a Yellowknife-based prospector currently working with Adriana Resources.

Clouter is glad to see the forum growing, and he's also happy to have environmental issues being discussed.

"These environmental issues are all important," he said.

While Clouter and Mercredi have seen a number of Geoscience Forums, Chris Leslie was enjoying his first.

"The scientific info is phenomenal. I'm networking and meeting a lot of contacts," said the University of British Columbia masters of geology student.

The Geoscience Forum continues until Thursday night.