The N.W.T. government is giving six junior mining companies operating in the territory hundreds of thousands of dollars from a new fund called the Mining Incentive Program.

The new fund is the key part of the government’s new Mineral Development Strategy and is meant to attract new mining investment to the territory.

In a news release, Dave Ramsay, minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, says the new fund is meant to help sustain exploration activity in a region where it’s expensive to operate.

The territorial government gave two prospectors $9,500 and $12,000 respectively, and six companies between $50,000 and $80,000 each, handing out a total of $396,044.

All of the recipients already have working projects in the N.W.T., such as Vancouver-based TerraX, which is exploring for gold near Yellowknife. That company is currently valued at about $17 million but failed to turn a profit last year. It received $50,000 from the incentive program.

Demco Limited Partnership, a mining company owned by the Denendeh Investment Corporation, received $65,000 to continue exploring for metals in the Sahtu region.

The program is based on funds in other provinces and territories. Yukon has a similar program that handed out about $1.4 million this year. Program officials there say last year’s funding led to 300 new mineral claims being staked in Yukon.

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