Mineral Development in the Arctic

The AEC’s Working Group on Responsible Resource Development under the leadership of co-chairs Lillian Hvatum Brewster (ATCO Group, Canada) and Bruce Harland (Crowley Maritime, USA) has released its first report focusing on mining in the Arctic. The report titled “Mineral Development in the Arctic” provides insights and an exchange of ideas around mineral development projects in the Arctic. The report identifies five pillars for responsible resource development in the Arctic.

There are common issues for successful responsible resource development in the Arctic. Governments, industry and local Indigenous peoples working together to generate mutually beneficial development of the Arctic. While there are other challenges facing responsible Arctic development, the five pillars for success have been identified by this Working Group as:

  • Human capital;
  • Built infrastructure;
  • Regulatory and permitting;
  • Data sharing and accessibility; and
  • Economic viability.

As a starting point, these five pillars also depend on a well-defined mineral resource base. Economically viable mineral deposits are relatively rare and often not found near existing infrastructure.

Determining a site to be viable will have to consider these common factors:

  • Value of the mineral(s) to be extracted;
  • Grade and size of the mineral deposit;
  • Location of the mineral deposits and location of the market;
  • Cost of bringing supplies into the mine site;
  • Access to affordable energy;
  • Availability of a qualified workforce; and
  • Environmental setting of the mine site.

The report is a consolidation of insights from a wide spectrum of Arctic stakeholders with a specific focus on mining in the North American Arctic. It includes feedback from companies that have developed Arctic mining projects and what made them successful, as well as from other stakeholders representing Indigenous groups, potential Arctic investors and government entities.

The report Mineral Development in the Arctic is available through the link.