For the annual NWT & Nunavut Mining feature that recently appeared in Nunavut News, we approached MLAs for their perspective on the mining industry in the territory. These were the responses from Aivilik MLA Patterk Netser. The full edition of NWT & Nunavut Mining can be found here: https://nnsl.com/special-feature-publications/nwt-nunavut-mining-2019/
Q: What do you consider to be the greatest advantages and disadvantages of mining in the Nunavut?
A: As the MLA for the Aivilik constituency, I think increased mining near Coral Harbour and Naujaat is a very positive story. It will end our reliance on social assistance. We’ll see our constituents buy new ATVs and snowmobiles, support their families better and have a more positive outlook on life instead of waiting for a monthly social assistance payment. People complain that mines bring alcohol and drugs into communities, but alcohol and drugs were around before the mines came. We can’t blame the mines for everything.
Q: Do you believe the mines do enough overall for the territory in terms of employment, royalties, donations and legacy projects?
A: The mines are on Inuit-owned lands so government doesn’t receive royalty payments. If more people in Coral Harbour and Naujaat are employed at mines, they’ll pay income tax, which generates income for government. I hope to see more donations and legacy projects come to Coral Harbour and Naujaat.
Q: Should mines be involved in supplying housing in surrounding communities?
A: I believe mines should play a role in providing housing for their employees. It would help alleviate overcrowding. When an employee finishes their shift rotation, they want to come home to their own home and be able to relax, free of overcrowded situations.