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Mapping out the money

David Ryan
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 27/06) - The timing for more than $12 million in geoscience and training funding may have been on the money, but some industry members would like to have seen more of it.

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) made a trio of funding announcements for the North in conjunction with the 34th Geoscience Forum in Yellowknife, held Nov. 21 to 23.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Francine Doucet, left and Laura Hepditch, communication officers with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Nunavut regional office, were in Yellowknife during the Geoscience Forum. -

The Northwest Territories and Nunavut will both receive $6 million over the next three years for federal geoscience activities through the Targeted Investment Program.

Close to $800,000 will also come from INAC to purchase four mine training simulators in the Northwest Territories during the next two years.

The $6 million in geoscience money will support projects such as bedrock mapping, geophysical surveys and data management and distribution, said INAC Minister Jim Prentice in a department press release.

"Enhanced knowledge in these areas will help identify potential economic opportunities for the territory," said Prentice in the release.

While the $6 million is certainly welcome, the amount of funding for geoscience work is disappointing said president of the NWT/Nunavut Chamber of Mines Lou Covello.

"It could be more," responded Covello during the Geoscience Forum.

When looking at the value the mining and exploration industry brings in to the Northwest Territories, more money should be invested by the federal government, he said.

The NWT needs more work to be done on database mapping and even topographic maps, he said.

Investing more money for geoscience work is a proven investment many times over, said Covello.

"Public info should belong to the public," he said.

Though the dollar amount isn't fantastic, the money can go to help basic mapping in different regional areas, said, Dave Nickerson, director of Tyhee Development Corporation.

The NWT will continue to bring in more exploration and mining work with extensive geological mapping, he said.

With more exploration and mining work, training will also be a necessity, and INAC's announcement of four new training simulators is a good move, said Cal Shaw, acting general manager of the Mine Training Society.

"Training simulators can be a wonderful tool," he said.

The simulators, which will be used by Aurora College, should allow people to access training dollars through the Mine Training Society, he said.

One full scale underground simulator and three desktop computer simulators will be purchased, according to an INAC press release.

The desktop simulators will be invaluable because they can be moved easily from community to community, said Shaw.