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Geoscience forum grows

Stephan Burnett
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 22/04) - It was the largest Geoscience Forum ever held in the Northwest Territories.

Mike Vaydik, executive director for the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Chamber of Mines, said there were 700 registered delegates at the 32nd annual Geoscience Forum, roughly 100 more registered participants than last year.

It's all based on favourable market conditions.

With gold at $440 an ounce, that has stimulated exploration for the material, he said.

Interest in diamond-bearing properties is focused more within properties held in Nunavut as opposed to the NWT.

Diamond projects require huge landmasses. Gold can involve smaller companies, with a lower requirement for capital, he said.

Vaydik called the current system of getting prospecting permits "not a very good one in terms of time and labour."

"But it's based on history and regulations," Vaydik explained.

From a long-term perspective, Vaydik said now could be the time when the government and the chamber might look at an easier way to register for prospecting permits.

"Historically, this was a slow time of the year for exploration and it was seen as a way of evening out the workload," he said.

The mining chamber is interested in looking at the possibility of introducing electronic map staking.

"Most other jurisdictions are doing the same and for Nunavut it is a high priority," said Vaydik.

If the change occurs, prospecting permits could be registered 365 days a year.