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Vol. 19, No. 17 Week of April 27, 2014
Providing coverage of Alaska and Northwest Canada's mineral industry

Mining News: Think tank seeks new mining solutions

Institute of the North plans regional summit to develop effective strategies for identifying a public-private ‘recipe’ for success

Rose Ragsdale

For Mining News

Alaska’s venerable Institute of the North has organized a mining summit for developing effective strategies for mining success in the northernmost regions of the Western Hemisphere.

The Northern Regions Mining Summit, to be held May 28-30 in Vancouver, B.C., will address the social, cultural and economic impact and opportunity of mineral resource development for northern peoples in Alaska, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon Territory and Greenland.

The Alaska-based think tank is co-sponsoring the summit in partnership with northern governments, institutions and mining companies as a unique forum for exploring ways to effectively develop vast and rich mineral resources in jurisdictions located north of the 60th parallel for the benefit of Northern peoples.

Institute founder Alaska Gov. Walter J. “Wally” Hickel would have heartily applauded the goal of the summit.

Hickel, who served the second and eighth governor of the 49th state, believed strongly in understanding the reality, the richness and the responsibility of the North. He championed “the commons” and how to care for commonly-owned lands and resources, in Alaska and beyond.

Hickel’s first term ended in 1969 when he resigned after three years to become Secretary of the Interior in the Nixon Administration. He also served as governor from 1990 to 1994. He died in 2010.

Policymaking in the North

Today, the Institute of the North works to share its vision for the Arctic.

“Our mission is vital to Alaska’s role as a key stakeholder in policy affecting the Arctic.  We stand at a pivotal place where ideas and connections matter – across the state and on a global scale,” the Institute wrote on its website. “Our mission is vital to Alaska’s role as a key stakeholder in policy affecting the Arctic. We stand at a pivotal place where ideas and connections matter – across the state and on a global scale.”

In an increasingly busy Arctic, many of the issues affecting Alaska have taken on new importance. Alaskans understand the inherent challenges to living in the Arctic but have found wealth in the quality of life and economic opportunity. That wealth relies on building and maintaining critical infrastructure in the state. For Alaskans to thrive in the North there must be a foundation in place to sustain communities and drive development.

The Institute of the North is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization. Areas of special study include Alaska, the many regions of the Arctic and other areas of the world that are wealthy in both human cultures and natural resources.

In an increasingly busy Arctic, many of the issues affecting Alaska have taken on new importance. Alaskans understand the inherent challenges to living in the Arctic but have found wealth in the quality of life and economic opportunity. That wealth relies on building and maintaining critical infrastructure in the state. For Alaskans to thrive in the North there must be a foundation in place to sustain communities and drive development.

The Institute of the North is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit. Areas of special study include Alaska, the many regions of the Arctic and other areas of the world that are wealthy in both human cultures and natural resources. The Institute has gained a wide reputation as a center for the study of commonly-owned lands, seas and resources using Alaska as a model.

Recipe for mining success

How do permitting systems allow timely business decisions, while responding to robust public participation and environmental risk considerations? How do Northern communities attract investment and benefit from infrastructure and work-force development? Where do governance and industry impact local social and human development? How can Northern jurisdictions create a straightforward regulatory framework that encourages both business investment and community benefit?

Summit participants will examine complex and interconnected questions that address what is the ‘recipe’ for northern mining success. Among the summit topics will be issues involving Northern mining operations, encompassing themes of effective governance, commercial interest and reality, and social well-being and health. These include: “Work force development and human resource planning; Legal developments; Maritime transportation and mine operations; Stakeholder engagement, CSR and traditional knowledge; Human and social development; Managing, mitigating and communicating environmental risk; Geomapping and geoscience; Indigenous perspectives, traditional ways of life and mineral development; Investment, ownership and equity; Public participation, consultation and stakeholder engagement; Addressing the energy challenge; Establishing competitiveness – The Fraser Institute’s mining survey; the future of mining in Canada’s North; regulatory timeliness – efficient national, sub-national and local decision-making; Public-private partnerships in transportation and infrastructure development; Addressing the energy challenge; community readiness and resilience; Addressing the transportation challenge; Addressing expectations, difference and opportunity; Emerging leaders dialogue – Developing a social license to operate; Role of sub-national governments in regional development; Operations and supportive Infrastructure; Impact benefit and community governance; Capacity building and job training;” and “Participatory socio-economic review processes.”

Facilitating an outcome

Drawing upon presenters, representing local, state and national governments, industry and the support sector, as well as research organizations in Alaska, northern Canada and Greenland, the summit aims to produce an outcome shaped by facilitated participation of Summit attendees.

The summit roster is comprised of key leaders from Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Greenland as well as Alaska. Confirmed presenters include:

•Patrick Borbey, President, Canadian Northern Development Agency

•The Honorable Cathy Giessel, Senator, Alaska State Legislature

•Deborah Archibald, Assistant Deputy Minister – Devolution Implementation, Dept. of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Government of Northwest Territories.

In an increasingly busy Arctic, many of the issues affecting Alaska have taken on new importance, according to the Institute, which has gained a wide reputation as a center for the study of commonly-owned lands, seas and resources using Alaska as a model.

“Alaskans understand the inherent challenges to living in the Arctic but have found wealth in the quality of life and economic opportunity. That wealth relies on building and maintaining critical infrastructure in the state. For Alaskans to thrive in the North there must be a foundation in place to sustain communities and drive development,” the Institute said in announcing the Summit.

This conversation is timely and responsive to Arctic Council decisions related to an Arctic Economic Council, but moreover to Canada’s Arctic Council chairmanship theme of “Development for the People of the North”. Results will benefit companies who hope to explore and produce in the North American Arctic, governments tasked with ensuring risk mitigation and impact benefit, and northern communities that provide a social license to operate.

Some 200-300 participants are expected from Alaska, Canada and Greenland; all of whom will be working together to produce a tangible product from the proceedings that provides guidance for future Arctic development.

Registration details, the draft agenda and more information can be found at http://www.institutenorth.org/NRMS, or by contacting Nils Andreassen at nandreassen@institutenorth.org, or (907) 786-6324.



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