The Dene First Nations in the Northwest Territories have created a 100% now have a company, DEMCO LP that can enable them to be owners of mines operating on their lands. DEMCo is wholly owned by Denendeh Investments Limited Partnership whose membership is available solely to the five Dene regions in the NWT.
Aboriginal people in the NWT exert influence on exploration and development activity on over 350,000 sq. km. of aboriginal owned lands (surface & subsurface) through settled agreements and ongoing negotiations. Combined with Nunavut lands and NWT traditional territories, aboriginal ownership collectively spans approximately 3 million sq. km. This gives DEMCo a competitive edge that few mining exploration companies are in a position to obtain by virtue of the fact DEMCo is a 100% northern Dene owned company.
Mining is a major economic driver in Canada and the Northwest Territories, spurred by demand for metals overseas. Mining exploration and development has been occurring in the Northwest Territories since the Gold Rush of 1898, but to date the Dene have not fully participated in a beneficial way. To create economic self-sufficiency and hope for the future, the Dene plan to explore, find, develop and benefit directly from resources on their lands. Resource development would be a vehicle to gain knowledge, capacity and expertise in geology and the mineral sector thus diversifying the NWT and community economies.
Over sixty Aboriginal businesses have sprung up within the past decade to service the mining industry. Existing mines have a finite life-cycle so more producing mines are needed to sustain these Aboriginal service companies. Training initiatives such as ASEP delivered through the NWT Mine Training Society have trained hundreds of northern people to work in the industry and develop the potential to enter into senior management and entrepreneurial initiatives on their own.
Regulatory uncertainty due to settled agreements, treaty implementation and governance in the NWT has slowed exploration investment. Dene participation will inspire investor confidence, improve the understanding of the industry and help develop a responsible legislative, policy and regulatory framework that can encourage investment, thus stimulating the economy of the NWT. In terms of education of the industry, it would help to ensure that Aboriginal communities understand the positive and negative impacts of mining and exploration.
Currently DEMCo has three separate initiatives, the Terra silver/IOCG/remediation project, a diamond prospect portfolio and a gold property.
The Terra project is a multi-phase venture and all aspects of it are very attractive. One phase involves mining of high grade silver, another involves exploration of IOCG (Iron-Oxide-copper-gold) targets and the third involves environmental reclamation.
On the Diamond front, DEMCo has incorporated “Dene Diamonds Inc.” as a wholly owned DEMCo subsidiary in the NWT and is progressing to have the trade name registered Canada wide. DEMCo has finalized the acquisition of a number of highly prospective diamond claims. These claims include 7 known kimberlite pipes once owned by DeBeers but relinquished once the DeBeers exploration division decided to leave the NWT.
DEMCo recently staked a mineral showing known as the Bugow. This claim is highly prospective and it is well known that it has very good gold values. The Bugow is directly north of Behchoko and northwest of Yellowknife. The property has had multiple owners since the 1940’s and drilling results to date indicates a current resource of approximately 233,000 ounces of Gold
The Partnership would release a new era of wealth creation that would not only benefit the Dene, their partners, and the NWT, but for all of Canada
The new partnership would utilize northern and aboriginal business and labor. This would apply in the respective Dene regions where work is performed; if the supply and service is available.
DEMCo will create value from a pan-territorial, regional and community perspective by building equity in northern resource development, business development, employment that will induce long term activity, capacity building and benefits rather than immediate and short term fixes.
The process of acquiring land use permits and licenses has long been an issue for resource developers wanting to invest, develop and operate in the North. Permitting is an issue for which DEMCo must develop a strategy. Partnerships with governments, other mining and exploration companies and communities will ensure permitting systems that will work for us and others. As it is the Crown’s duty to consult, we must meet with them to develop a partnership in the permitting process that is cost effective and efficient due to the short exploration and construction seasons in the north.
Community consultation methods must be clearly formatted in terms of creating the interest for communities to work with us (communities beneficial interest in our project), a clear meeting format, identifying key Aboriginal resource people and leaders that can influence a positive outcome for the project and to ensure that a permitting process is in place that we can all agree to for project development.
Timing for creation of DEMCo is ideal. The current capital markets are at a low. The credit squeeze has made it almost impossible for many junior mining companies to raise money. As a result, the juniors that are running low on cash have simply stopped doing anything and the ones with cash are being very prudent with it. Currently, 50% of the junior mining companies that are listed have less than $500,000.00 in cash. That is less than an average year of operating costs. Share prices are plummeting as investors have no confidence that the juniors will be able to develop their projects.
It would be foolish not to acknowledge the impact of the global financial crisis on the mining industry but it also goes to say that markets will come about, senior mining companies will search out and find good deals to snap up juniors who will not survive and more mergers and acquisitions will be the story of the future.
The silver lining to present and initiate a Denendeh exploration and Mining company at this time may help create momentum for fundamental change in First Nation participation in resource development in the Northwest Territories and Canada.
So the timing to pick up properties and or junior mining companies is upon us. How long this window will remain open is unknown.
As projects develop in various Dene regions, we wish to establish a working relationship and build an equity partnership base to include regional and or community businesses.
Create partnerships with the regional entities (either through their respective governing bodies or development corporations), to explore and development the mineral potential in the regions.
Prospector, staking and exploration surveying (E.M., Mag and VLF) training can be initiated to ensure knowledge and experience in the exploration stages.
Current Status as of October 2nd, 2013
DEMCo has now acquired 12 mineral claims covering 22,731.18 acres at the Terra Mine site on the Camsell River at Conjuror bay on Great Bear Lake from Cooper Minerals Inc. that contains 4 former producing mines.
DEMCo has also negotiated the purchase of 2 other mineral leases and 1 claim for a total control of 100% (24,290.11 acres at the Terra Mine).