A Review of Cold Regions Developments In Canada

Frederking, Robert (National Research Council Canada)



There are a number of developments underway in the Arctic and East Coast frontier regions of Canada These relate to oil and gas, mineral exploitation and transportation. The magnitude of some of these resources is described together with a discussion of some of the economic constraints on their development. Environmental conditions on both land and sea are described. Individual developments are described and the technology challenges and requirements of each project portrayed.


There are a number of resource developments planned or underway In the frontier regions of Canada. The most commonplace development relates to oil and gas. Currently oil is being produced from the Scotian Shelf where there is no ice and on a seasonal basis from Bent Horn In the High Arctic. The Hibernia project is going ahead with production slated to commence in 1997. there is also a potential for oil and gas development from the Beaufort Sea and MacKenzie Delta. One aspect which tends to be overlooked in considering frontier developments is mineral production. There are two producing mines in the High Arctic, Nanisivik on Baffin Island and Polaris on Little Cornwallis Island. The Izok developmentin the centre of the Barrens is currently receiving active consideration. For planned developments to proceed, or existing ones to continue, they have to be viable at world market prices for their particular resource. Transportation is a key element in establishing the viability of producing a resource from the Arctic. It is interesting to note that historically the frontier regions tempted the first Europeans to Canada. The fishery of the Grand Banks commenced at the end of the 15th century. Fur trading Into Hudson Bay started in the 17th century Whaling attracted attention to the Eastern Arctic and later the Western Arctic. All these activities were seaborne and ships evolved which were a match to the environment.