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Mining program awards $400k
One prospector might not get the funds

Karen K. Ho
Northern News Services
Monday, July 6, 2015

Seven companies and seven prospectors have been selected by the Northwest Territories Geological Survey to receive funding from the GNWT's mining incentive program.

NNSL photo/graphic

Denendeh Investments Incorporated president, Darrell Beaulieu, speaks at the Business Development and Investment Corporation's 10th anniversary event at the Explorer Hotel on April 1. The company's DEMCo Limited Partnership has been awarded $49,000 as part of the GNWT's mining incentive program this year. - Karen K. Ho/NNSL photo

The organization "provides funding to prospectors and exploration companies who propose new exploration projects or are already carrying out NWT mineral exploration work," according to the Northwest Territories Geological Survey's website. It has an annual budget of $400,000.

Prospectors licensed in the territory can receive up to $15,000 each and corporate applicants to the program can receive up to $100,000 to cover 50 per cent of eligible expenses.

One of them is DEMCo Limited Partnership, a company fully-owned by Denendeh Investments Incorporated. Denendeh Investments president Darrell Beaulieu told News/North that DEMCo plans on using its $49,000 to advance its silver, iron oxide, copper and gold project southeast of Great Bear Lake.

"Part of it is saving the core racks on site because they're starting to fall over," he said in regard to the method of storing long, pole-like mineral samples from prior drilling programs.

Beaulieu said the company also plans on more core recovery and logging, as well as sampling, mapping and prospecting in the area.

"That'll keep us busy for the next six weeks or so," he said.

Approximately six people will be employed at the site: a mix of geologists, prospectors and helpers.

The funding comes at a time when many mining and exploration companies in the territory are struggling to achieve financing goals and bring on new investors, a situation Beaulieu acknowledged.

"It's a very high-risk, high-return industry," he said.

"We know our territory is rich in minerals, but we are still under-explored," said Industry, Tourism and Investment Minister David Ramsay in a news release.

"Prospecting maximizes the return on our investment through innovative and effective exploration. We are open for business with socially responsible companies that are willing to work with us to maximize the benefits for all Northerners."

One of the announced beneficiaries of the new mining incentive program might never see his money.

Prospector Gary Jaeb told News/North he might not receive his $13,000 from the program because a lodge owned by his company currently owes about $110,000 to the Business Development Investment Corporation.

"We're behind in our loan payments for MacKay Lake Lodge," he said on the phone from just outside of Calgary. "We couldn't receive any government funding for any related parties until we bring our loan payments up to date."

Jaeb blamed the 2009 caribou harvesting ban for the lodge's financial decline, which he said used to bring $1 million in business per year and employ approximately 30 people. He said the lodge has been appraised at approximately $900,000, but no one wants to purchase it due to the ongoing inability to hunt caribou.

"Andy Dupre and I have some claims we've done some work on," he said. "It's potentially kimberlite pipes but we wanted to do some till sampling. We're not sure we're going to get the money. It's a bizarre situation."

When he applied for the program, he was not aware that a debt to the GNWT would hinder his plans to receive funding.

Till sampling involves small holes made with a drill or a spade, at depths no greater than a few metres. It generally causes no damage to the ground.

At press time, Jaeb was still waiting for word from the Department of Finance to find out if his payment will be held or clawed back despite hearing from multiple program administrators that the mining funds had been approved.

"Even though they requisitioned the payment, it's not certain until I get it in my hand," he said.

Aside from Jaeb, the other six prospectors chosen for the program are Dave Nickerson, Penelope Shaw, Ken Baigent, Nicolas Walker and Wayne Kendrik, all of whom applied for gold projects.

Other companies that received funding were TerraX Minerals Inc., Canterra Minerals Corp., Panarc Resources Ltd., Proxima Diamonds Corp. and GGL Resources Corp.

This is the second year of the program's operation.

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