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Canada Increases Support for Indigenous Participation in Critical Minerals Development and Supports Good Jobs in the Northwest Territories

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Canada Increases Support for Indigenous Participation in Critical Minerals Development and Supports Good Jobs in the Northwest Territories






Partnering with Indigenous Peoples, communities, and businesses is critical to building inclusive, sustainable, and resilient natural resource sectors in Canada. A robust approach to enabling Indigenous economic participation in resource projects, especially critical mineral projects, is a key part of advancing economic reconciliation — and fighting climate change while building strong and prosperous communities.


While in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories on April 10, Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories, on behalf of the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, announced $5 million in funding to Denendeh Exploration and Mining Company Ltd. (DEMCo) through the Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships (INRP) Program.


DEMCo is a 100% Dene (First Nation) owned mineral exploration and mining company. DEMCo identified the Camsell River mineral property in the Northwest Territories as a promising site for iron-oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) and potential critical minerals. To promote the development of the former silver mine site, INRP funding will be utilized for initial project data collection, as well as planning and engagement efforts among Indigenous communities.


This will help to gather more information for the creation of a technical report to attract investors and partnerships. Additionally, the funding will help to build business capacity within DEMCo and local Indigenous groups by contributing to the growth of a skilled local workforce.


Budget 2022 allocated $80 million over five years, starting in 2022-2023, to renew and expand the INRP to all natural resource sectors and all regions of Canada. This will help enable Indigenous communities across Canada to secure economic opportunities from natural resource projects and become equal partners in Canada’s net-zero transition.


The Government of Canada remains committed to advancing meaningful partnerships with Indigenous Peoples and enabling the development of innovative natural resource projects that will have benefits for generations to come.




“There will be no energy transition, no clean economy and no net zero by 2050 without far more critical minerals — including Canadian critical minerals. By partnering with Indigenous communities across Canada, we are helping to spur local economic opportunities, create good jobs and build wealth while simultaneously increasing our supply of critical minerals and the clean technologies and energy sources that they enable.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources


“The NWT possesses significant amounts of many of the critical minerals that will support green transition projects and today’s technology needs. Canada has recognized this previously through the federal government’s support of northern regulatory processes for reviewing and permitting these projects. Now, through this investment in DEMCo—a 100% Dene First Nation owned company—Canada reaffirms its commitment to supporting Indigenous economic reconciliation while setting Canada up to be a global supplier of critical minerals.”

Michael V. McLeod
Member of Parliament for the Northwest Territories


“DEMCo was established to ensure mineral exploration and resource development occurring on our lands provides real and lasting benefits to the Dene and is undertaken in an environmentally and economically sustainable way. The Camsell River project is an opportunity to increase investment and collaboration among Indigenous people in the NWT in the natural resource sectors and has the potential to be a real game changer for the NWT and Canada. Canadian Indigenous ownership in the development of Critical Minerals advances economic reconciliation and stimulates Canada’s homegrown Indigenous resource and infrastructure development to meet Canada’s need for critical minerals and rare earth elements and is a major step in the right direction.”

Darrell Beaulieu
President, Denendeh Exploration and Mining Company Ltd.


Associated Link


Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships


Posted April 30, 2024

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