Northern leaders are cheering after Ottawa announced funding to begin planning and design work for a long-awaited road into the heart of Canada’s mineral-rich Arctic.
Liberal MP Paul Lefebvre has told a mining conference in Toronto the federal government will kick in more than $5 million to start work on an all-season road into the centre of the Northwest Territories.
Building a road into the so-called Slave Geological Province has been discussed since John Diefenbaker was prime minister in the early 1960s.
N.W.T.’s minister of industry and infrastructure calls the announcement a great first step to opening up what he says is one of the richest areas of the country.
Last year, the federal government committed $570 million over 10 years for roads and other infrastructure in the N.W.T.
The last link of the Dempster, from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk, was opened last summer.
Estimates suggest the road could unlock $45 billion in mineral resources.
Schumann says construction of the first section of the road could start within five years.