Opportunities North - Pushing Boundaries
October 09, 2014
The Opportunities North conference held in Whitehorse featured speakers from all three northern territories. Topics included energy, transportation, labour markets, mining and investment.
A few of the highlights:
- Yukon’s tourism industry has been growing by 3% per year for a decade—the best in Canada, according to Premier Pasloski. Yukon only measures border crossings as its main measure of tourism. The Yukon Government’s economist says this year has been flat.
- 98.5% of Yukon’s energy was produced by renewable sources in the past decade per Michael Brandt, a Yukon Energy VP. Yukon Energy is actively seeking First Nation partners and grid extensions into Alaska (Skagway) and Atlin BC. The LNG energy chain is strongly supported by the mining sector.
- Northern Cross has spent $100M in the past 3 years exploring for hydrocarbons in north Yukon, near Eagle Plains. Yukon’s Kotaneelee gas well is no longer producing gas.
- The mining industry is not liking Yukon’s permitting process as is takes too long (years) and duplicates studies.
- Skagway is upgrading their port facilities and starting to study a 25 MW hydro project near the town.
- NWT’s Gaucho Kue will be the 7th largest in the world and 4th diamond mine in NWT. It will push NWT’s GDP growth up to 7% starting in 2017.
- NWT is actively investigating shipping bitumen down the Mackenzie by barge, then to the Beaufort and onto ships to Asia! The Government is financing a fibre-optic cable build down the Mackenzie valley to Inuvik.
- There are 4 mines under development in Yukon two are very large (Casino and Selwyn).
The conference was interesting and well planned. Partnerships with First Nations were emphasized by quite a few speakers. Training programs and the availability of skilled labour were important issues.