The Government of Canada and the GNWT announced $40 million in funding toward pre-construction work on the Slave Geological Province Corridor, an all-season road that would connect western Nunavut and an area in the NWT believed to be rich in mineral deposits.

Of the total $40 million in funding announced, the federal government is contributing $30 million under the National Trade Corridors Fund, while the GNWT will provide the remaining $10 million.

Wally Schumann, Minister of Infrastructure and Industry, Tourism and Investment stated that this funding announcement brings the Slave Geological Province Corridor one step closer to reality.

“Here in the North, highway infrastructure plays a very important part in the longevity and well-being of our communities. Not just because of its ability to improve the resiliency of the NWT transportation system but also because of the skills, training and economic benefits opportunities that strategy infrastructure projects bring to the communities and the people.”

According to a news release from the N.W.T. government, this funding is intended to support environmental regulatory reviews and planning studies for the Slave Geological Province Corridor such as:

  • Environmental and regulatory reviews for a road from Highway 4 to Lockhart Lake;
  • Planning road design and alignment from Highway 4 to the Nunavut Border; and
  • Planning studies to the Slave Geological Province Corridor to make this project shovel ready.

The Government believes that the construction of all-season infrastructure to the Slave Geological Province Corridor has the potential to bring major economic development opportunities by reducing the costs of operating existing mines and future resource exploration and development activities.

GNWT graphic of the Slave Geological Province access corridor proposed route.

Schumann added that the long-term vision for the SGP is to include transportation, hydro, and communications infrastructure that will ultimately connect to a road and deep-water port on the Arctic Ocean in Nunavut.

“This will strengthen the NWT as a service centre for new exploration and mine development opportunities while increasing the feasibility of resource development in both territories.”

Additionally, Schumann said the project will help to mitigate the effects of climate change by replacing the existing winter road into the region with more reliable access.

“The corridor will also enhance the feasibility of expanding the Taltson Hydro System and maintaining a transmission line into the Slave Geological Province, which would lower industrial emissions in the NWT.”

The eventual price tag for the proposed 413-kilometre, two-lane gravel road is estimated to cost $1.1 billion. The Slave Geological Province is located in the eastern Northwest Territories, where the territory’s three operating diamond mines are located.