Photostory #476A: Big, Two-Pronged Mineral Hunt: Up North -- Where the Action Is
National Film Board of Canada
August 31, 1968
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
Big business and big government have pooled imagination, technology, financial resources and a firm belief in Canada's northern mineral potential to speed into action the most comprehensive arctic exploration program ever. Across the treeless barrens of the mainland, over the high arctic islands, around the Mackenzie River delta and at the backdoors of the two most westerly provinces, a gigantic search for minerals is now being energetically pursued. The two main thrusts are by Panarctic Oils Ltd. (a consortium between 20 companies and the federal government on a cost and profit sharing basis), which is probing for oil in the extremely promising regions of the Arctic Islands, and a widespread hunt for metals in the Coppermine River area. The search for copper, gold, silver and uranium in the Coppermine area is another example of the new look in exploration cooperation. Most of the 80 companies holding claims are participating in a joint aerial geophysical survey, sharing in both the costs and the vital information obtained - this being only one instance of new commercial get-togetherness. Meanwhile the government's 45-per-cent share of the multi-million-dollar oil search inside the Arctic Circle adds credit to the tempting probability that the seventies will see Canadian oil being shipped east and west across the adjoining oceans as a valuable revenue export to Europe, Asia and the U.S.A. In addition, the presentation of a new way of life will be ready for the taking for native Eskimo and Indian Canadians besides other adventurous people from the south. But for now, it is the time to trudge the hillside contours and follow the river banks with geological hammer in hand, pack portable magnetometers over the undulating barrens with their craggy outcrops, tow sophisticated geophysical-phenomena-detecting doodle-bugs from low-flying aircraft, explore seismic charges in prescribed patterns and carefully examine diamond-drill cores for vital clues to riches. That is precisely what is happening now in Canada's Northwest Territories - the place where the action is.