On paper it’s onwards and upwards for mining in the three territories. But challenges remain, and each territory has experienced setbacks as metal markets soften.
All three territories have seen exploration expenditures slump this year. Nunavut has dropped from $443 M to an estimated $312 M. NWT has fallen sharply from $114 M to likely less than $50M. In Yukon exploration expenditures have been halved to $111M from 226M in 2012.
Each territory has more recent events to add to their woes:
The metal markets have tanked and are affecting the north. Silver peaked in Sep-11 at around $43/oz. and has declined to $22.72/oz. today. Hence the move by Alexco to cut costs. The Hecla Greens Creek mine (Alaska) is more protected by a richer deposit.
Capital markets for small mining companies are very challenging. Small Victoria Gold was unable to proceed with the Eagle mine due to tough market conditions.
The economies of all three territories are weaker than a year ago due to weaker markets and a faltering world economy.