Hon. Arthur Laing (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources):
I wish to announce that the government has approved the export from Pine Point in the Northwest Territories of additional quantities of high grade lead-zinc ore and zinc concentrates during the next two and three year periods. The application by Pine Point Mines Limited reflects a firm market position in these metals over this time period. We have approved the export of 90,000 tons per year of zinc metal contained in concentrates for a period of three years and 60,000 tons per year of high grade direct shipping ore.
These shipments will go to smelters in the United States. In addition, an earlier authority by which the government approved the export of 50,000 tons per year of elemental lead in concentrates to Japan for a period of ten years has been modified to allow the diversion of up to 15,000 tons of this amount to other markets during the next four years.
The result of these permits will be a very large increase in lead and zinc production in the immediate future. Not only will this produce very appreciable foreign exchange for Canada; it will also increase the volume of ore and concentrates moved by the Great Slave Lake Railway to more than double that anticipated before the mine went into production. It will be recalled that the government of Canada advanced the capital to build this railway. It is most encouraging to see this facility utilized to this extent.
When consideration was given to the applications for export, equal attention was given to the feasibility of increasing smelting facilities within Canada and particularly in the Northwest Territories. It is government policy to encourage processing of raw materials in Canada. On the basis of available information the case for establishing a smelter at Pine Point cannot be determined with certainty. There does seem to be a reasonable possibility that given adequate reserves and a continuation of present firm markets, such a
project might be realistic. The government is therefore engaging experienced consultants to undertake studies to determine the feasibility of the immediate construction of a smelter at Pine Point.
I am pleased to report that the mining company, Pine Point Mines Limited, and its parent organization, Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada Limited, have given unqualified support to this approach and have agreed to co-operate by making available to the government's independent consultants, on a confidential basis, all information useful in such a study. Pyramid Mining Company Limited, which has recently announced development of lead-zinc ore reserves in the same region, and several other companies now exploring the area have also indicated their willingness to co-operate in the same way.
I shall not predict that a smelter can or will be built in the Pine Point area, but because of the tremendous significance such a development could have for the region, I wish to assure the house that the government intends to continue a very active role in this matter.
To carry out the study of the economic feasibility of a smelter at Pine Point, the government has decided to retain the internationally known firm of Canadian Bechtel Limited.
Subtopic: INCREASED EXPORTS OF LEAD AND ZINC-STUDY OF SMELTER CONSTRUCTION