Junior mining exploration companies operating in the North could be granted a 12-month extension to spend the capital they raise via flow-through shares, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced on Friday.
The Government of Canada introduced the proposed measure in recognition of “significant challenges” that junior mining exploration companies are facing due to Covid-19. Some of these ventures have voluntarily shut down operations during the pandemic while others are experiencing difficulty getting into the field.
The government’s suggestion to lengthen grace period would allow these companies “additional time to incur eligible expenses, allowing them to safely plan when to best continue operations, while allowing them to avoid costs from not meeting original flow-through share timelines. This initiative would protect the good, well-paying jobs that many Canadians depend on, including those in rural, remote, northern and Indigenous communities,” a federal news release stated.
“This announcement is another example of our government continuing to respond to the needs of individuals and business in the North during this difficult time,” said Dan Vandal, minister of Northern Affairs. “Mining is critical to the economies of the territories and we have heard from the mining sector that the measures announced today are essential to sustain the minerals sector during the Covid-19 crisis and position the North for a strong post-Covid-19 economic recovery. Our government will continue to be there to help this vital industry and its workers.”
In Nunavut, 97.5 per cent of local residents who work in the mining and exploration industry are Indigenous. In the NWT, it’s 52.5 per cent of Indigenous residents who comprise the industry’s workforce.