Two resource developments in the Northwest Territories are being asked by regulators to post security deposits, with one coming in far under government estimates and the other saying the cost may force it to shut down.
Imperial Oil's licence at their field near Norman Wells was renewed earlier this month by the Sahtu Land and Water Board, requiring a $178 million security deposit. The board renewed Imperial Oil's license to produce oil in the region for another 10 years, though the oil giant has said the field could last another five years beyond that.
The $178 million deposit, which is meant to cover the cost of cleaning up the operation after it closes, is $50 million less than a Government of the Northwest Territories estimate.
Earlier this month, Yukon Zinc was charged by the Government of the Yukon for failing to pay its security payments on Wolverine Mine. The mine is now closed, meaning the government — and taxpayers — may be left footing the bill for its cleanup.
Meanwhile, North American Tungsten is saying that increased security payments demanded by the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board may force its CanTung mine to shut down.
CanTung, which is located just east of the N.W.T./Yukon border, was asked for an additional $19 million in security payments, a number the company's CEO Kurt Heikkila says will have "grave implications" for the project.
Heikkila also said that the change could jeopardize the employment of 250 people working at the mine, which first opened in 1962. It has closed and reopened numerous times since then due to fluctuating resource prices, but has been open since late 2010.