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MAC Applauds GEM Funding Renewal in Canada

Aug 23, 2013 1:57 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) welcomed the federal government's renewal of a special Geo-Mapping for Energy and Minerals (GEM) program that has helped to facilitate exploration activities in Canada's north.

Building on a 2008 federal budget allocation of $100 million for five years,  the government's renewed commitment of $100 million over seven years will carry forward important exploration work, according to MAC. To date, the GEM program has produced more than 700 maps and reports and the new round of funding, which the government titled ''Phase II of GEM'' will further develop modern geological maps and data sets that will completely cover Canada's northern reaches by year 2020. These geo-maps will then be made accessible to industry investors, land-use planners, government and community agencies to inform resource exploration and development.

"Mineral exploration is like looking for a needle in a haystack," said Pierre Gratton, the CEO of MAC.  "This continued investment in surveying will help the industry better determine where mineral deposits are located and ultimately, where the next generation of Canadian mines can be developed."

The group explained that geoscience is a fundamental building block of a minerals economy and that companies take high levels of funding risks to review areas where good geological data is available in order to heighten the chances of finding a deposit. By developing a broader body of reliable geological information, Canada is enhancing its attractiveness as a destination for mineral exploration investment, according to MAC.

Canada's three territories, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon, are rich in resources, including gold, diamonds, rare earths, copper, zinc and lead, and geo-mapping and exploration will help to identify more types of deposits in the region.  Roughly three-quarters of the GEM spending was directed toward investment in the territories, where the mapping needs are most acute.

MAC stated that in 2012, the territories attracted nearly $450 million in exploration investment.

"There is great interest in Canada's northern mineral potential and the GEM program is critical to mapping out mineral opportunities in a region where geoscience knowledge is currently lacking," said Gratton. "We welcome the government's continued support of programs such as GEM that are key to enhancing Canada's global competitiveness through the facilitation of mineral exploration."

In addition to GEM, the government funded $5.8 million over two years to support the Northwest Territories Mine Training Society for a new mining sector skills training program there and in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut.

Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, said, "Our government is working to ensure that Northerners and all Canadians benefit from the tremendous natural resources in the territories. Our investment in resource exploration will continue to unlock the full economic, mineral and energy potential of the region, while generating new government revenue, private sector investment and jobs. This critical knowledge will also help Northerners make informed decisions about land use and preserve our Northern environment."

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Tags: diamonds, exploration, funding, gem, geo-mapping, gold, Jeff Miller, territories
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