Kicking off the Nunavut Mining Symposium happening this week in Iqaluit was the Nunavut Mining Awards on May 9, which recognized people and companies who have excelled or helped out Nunavut’s mining industry. The event was sponsored by Baffinland Iron Mines.

Starting off the evening was a performance from award-winning Pangnirtung singer-songwriter Joey Nowyuk.

The Corporate Award went to North Arrow Minerals Incorporated for their efforts in forwarding the territorial mining industry and assisting in local economic development just 9 km north of Naujaat. North Arrow was recognized for its work during the Covid-19 pandemic, collecting not one but two bulk samples in the summer of 2021 and for working with the Hamlet of Naujaat on the Naujaat kimberlite site.

“It wasn’t just us, there was a lot of work. The services and supply companies that we work with had to be flexible in order for a program like this to happen. Our helicopter contractors – their crews went through quarantine as well before going up to the hamlet. They didn’t have to do that, there are other places in Canada. I think it shows the commitment of those companies to working up here,” said Ken Armstrong president and CEO of North Arrow Minerals.

Armstrong also thanked their partner Burgundy Diamond Mines as well as the residents of Naujaat.

The Government Award was given to Nunavut’s chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson and his team for working with Nunavut’s mines during the Covid-19 pandemic, for consulting with the mining companies on what measures to take. There was overwhelming support to nominate Patterson and his team for this particular award, though he was unable to make it to the awards ceremony due to unforeseen circumstances. He gave a statement to read in his absence and apologized for not being able to make it.

“I would like to take this opportunity to point out that Nunavut’s response to Covid-19 has involved a diverse team of health staff, including lab technologists, epidemiologists, nurses and administrative staff as well as staff from other Government of Nunavut departments, hamlets and corporate partners,” wrote Patterson.

“In many cases the same individuals who supported efforts in the communities, supported the efforts at the mines.”

The Individual Award, meant to recognize individuals who made a significant impact on Nunavut’s mining industry went to long-time Nunavut Mining Symposium Society volunteer Brenda Mercer. Mercer has been involved with the Symposium for 19 out of 24 events the Symposium has held over the years, first working with the Symposium in Cambridge Bay and then Iqaluit.

During the last few years Mercer took on a quieter role at the Society with bookkeeping and secretarial support. She intends to retire within the next few months.

Mercer looked back at her first time working with the Symposium during her acceptance speech as the interim economic development officer of Cambridge Bay.

“I was tasked with the organization of the Symposium. It was the first time Cambridge Bay would host the Symposium.”

During that first time with the Symposium she saw a “new way of doing business,” in bringing together all the stakeholders in Nunavut’s mining industry to inform and discuss training with one another, as well as joint ventures.

“We had a lot of fun over the years as we came together to build the resource sector while supporting the communities through many fundraising efforts. It’s been cool to watch all of you grow and establish your contracts over the years. First exploration companies and now viable mineral deposits.”

“I thank all of you in this room who have valued this event as the networking event to make things happen.”

The Nunavut Mining Awards were launched in 2016, like the Symposium itself, this was the first time these awards were held since 2019. Nominations are reviewed by the Nunavut Mining Symposium Society Steering Committee.

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