The Northwest Territories (NWT) and federal governments say they plan to spend nearly $3.4 million on preliminary work for a proposed all-season road to a region believed to be rich in minerals.
The Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) is putting about $2.7 million toward the development of the Slave Geological Province Access Corridor project, while the territorial government is investing $678,000, according to a government news release.
Those investments are among the $5.1 million in government money that was announced on March 4 for two projects related to NWT resource development.
The territory’s three operating diamond lines are located in area to be served by the proposed new road.
“This is an important day for us,” Wally Schumann, the territorial minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. after the announcement.
CanNor also will invest about $2.4 million on area mapping and aerial surveys, with the NWT government investing $280,000 and industry partners investing $749,000.
Schumann said the full mineral potential of this “very mineral-rich area of North America” is unknown, but the money for geological surveying will help figure that out.
“We need to figure out what else is in that area, be it rare earths or more cobalt,” he said. “And to be able to access those types of projects, you need to have a road to be able to get [the minerals] out.”
Schumann said the government hopes construction on the road can begin in five years.