A junior mining company exploring for gold near Yellowknife is calling attention to future power issues in the Northwest Territories, saying its time government and industry come together to plan for future energy needs.
Terra X Minerals has been engaged in exploratory drilling in the territory for the past two years, but its proposed gold mine could significantly increase Yellowknife's power needs.
A crew of 20 are drilling on the company's Walsh Lake property this winter, about fifteen kilometres north of Yellowknife.
The Vancouver-based company has the right to explore for gold on 116 square kilometres of land north and south of the city, near the old Giant Mine and Con Mine properties.
Though it may be 10 years before it opens an operating mine, company president Joe Campbell says that issues with powering a future site should be examined now.
"There are already power generation problems in terms of the capacity of the system looking forward," says Campbell.
"And then, if a mine development like ours came along, you would essentially be doubling the problem."
According to Campbell, informal discussions about the situation have already begun with the territorial government, but he'd like to see a study done into the territory's future energy needs.
"It would be good to have a small study done looking at the various options just so you can narrow it down," says Campbell.
"This doesn't have to be a big expensive study, just a small technical study that says 'these options are viable and they should still be looked at, and these ones need to be put to bed or put off to the side.'"
The territorial government agrees that ongoing discussions are important, but says the territory's current power production capabilities exceed its demand.
"We're actively monitoring the non renewable and renewable options that are out there," said Andrew Stewart, who is with the territory's department of public works.
"Trying to be ready and prepared to move when these projects begin to have the potential to be very real."
The government has not commented on whether or not they support a study into the matter.