A corporation owned by the Northwest Territories' five Dene groups has purchased old silver mines and properties near the diamond mines in hopes of becoming the first aboriginal-owned company in Canada to operate a mine.
Denedeh Investments has bought properties that show promise for silver, gold and diamonds, including leases south of Great Bear Lake where three silver mines operated in the 1970s and 1980s.
Darrell Beaulieu, CEO of Denendeh Investments, says the timing was right to snap up properties.
"The sector is at a historical low," he said. "A lot of the juniors are not getting financing. Some of the major companies are pulling back and not spending as much money there. "
He says aboriginal-owned mines will help sustain the more than 60 aboriginal businesses that service the mining industry and create job opportunities.
"It opens geology and geosciences for aboriginal youth in the communities so they have a better understanding of their respective lands "
Beaulieu says an operating mine is still years away. He says the next step is pulling together the historical data they have for the properties and finding out exactly what's in the ground.