Understanding the Implications of Trends in Mining Technologies on Regional Development in the Context of the Northwest Territories
Principal Investigator: Lakhani, Sabrina-Ayesha (1)
Licence Number: 16634
Organization: University of Queensland
Licensed Year(s): 2019
Issued: Nov 26, 2019

Objective(s): To identify the current benefits accrued under the Socio-Economic Agreements from mining operations NWT; to identify advanced technological trends likely to be deployed at mining operations in the NWT; and, to explore the potential implications of technological change to socio-economic benefits captured under the Socio-Economic Agreements and industry’s shared-value paradigm in the NWT.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.4609.

This project will use two focus groups and desktop research to identify current socio-economic benefits derived from Socio-Economic Agreements (SEAs) between mine operators and the Government of the Northwest Territories and to identify emerging technologies and their associated implications for regional development and benefits captured under the SEAs.

Objectives are:
1. to identify the current benefits accrued under the Socio-Economic Agreements from mining operations in the Northwest Territories (NWT);
2. to identify advanced technological trends likely to be deployed at mining operations in the NWT; and,
3. to explore the potential implications of technological change to socio-economic benefits captured under the Socio-Economic Agreements and industry’s shared-value paradigm in the NWT.

The research team will use primarily purposive sampling (expert sampling) to recruit participants for two focus groups. Focus groups are proven to be an effective method to learn about the perceptions, feeling and attitudes and ideas of a group of participants around a specific topic through planned discussions in an informal and non-invasive environment.

Focus groups will be held in:
-Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at the University of British Columbia
-Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada during the 2019 Yellowknife Geoscience Forum (Public Space/Meeting Room)

Focus Group 1: Vancouver, British Columbia
The first focus group will comprise of academic and subject-matter experts and industry members whose professional roles mean they have extensive knowledge of the mining industry, and experience with community or sub-national government-industry agreements or local-content policies, company social performance/community relations or mine operation technology. Participants will be selected with the assistance of the researcher’s co-academic supervisor.
The focus group will consist of a 60-90-minute session with semi-structured questions that will be discussed by 7-10 participants. Their expertise will be used to help determine trends in mining technology and their potential implications to socio-economic benefits for remote and rural contexts.

Focus Group 2: Northern Mining Industry Expert Focus Group: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
The second focus group will be held in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories during the Yellowknife Geoscience Forum. Insights will be drawn from members from the industry at an executive management level with current or previous involvement in mining operations, or advanced exploration projects in the NWT. Members of the industry will be identified by the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Chamber of Mines (NWTNUCM) and initially contacted directly by the research team or NWTNUCM. Holding the focus group during the Yellowknife Geoscience Forum will serve as a convenient opportunity to engage mining experts in face-to-face discussions given the majority do not reside in Yellowknife. Additionally, this timing and conduit through the NWTNUCM also presents the opportunity for word-of-mouth or snowballing to recruit participants with interest in the project who approach the research team directly. If willing research participants are unable to attend the Yellowknife Geoscience Forum, additional interviews will be scheduled to supplement focus group data collection.

The focus group will consist of a 60-90 minute session with semi-structured questions that will be discussed by 8-12 industry experts. Questions will explore the relevance of technological trends to the north and their potential implications to regional benefits accrued under the Socio-Economic Agreements.

A summary of the project's findings will be sent to all project participants via email upon the completion of the study, and will also be sent to the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Department of Industry Tourism and Investments’ officials involved with the implementation of the Socio-Economic Agreements. A final (post-examination) copy of the student's masters thesis will also be provided upon request to participants.

Furthermore, the Aurora Research Institute will also receive a copy of the final thesis for a public record of this research. As well, the results of the project will be presented at the 2020 Yellowknife Geoscience Forum.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from November 26, 2019 to December 13, 2019.