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Pillai said in an interview Friday the anticipated upswing is focusing the spotlight on the territory’s capacity to handle it, from housing to the availability of a skilled labour force.

Expenditures on mineral exploration are looking to be noticeably higher this coming season than last year, said the minister. He spoke to the Star after returning from last week’s annual Mineral Exploration Roundup in Vancouver.

He said there are companies which are coming in with significant exploration budgets.

They’re not just budgets of hundreds of thousands to a couple of million, but are budgets in the $5 million to $10 million range, he said.

“What stood out for me was the potential size of the expenditures on exploration, he said.

Pillai noted the development of new mines is already underway, with Victoria Gold beginning to spend millions of dollars to bring its Eagle Gold Project north of Mayo into production.

Then there’s Alexco Resource Corp.’s initiative to restart mining operations in its Keno Hill Silver District, and Goldcorp advancing its Coffee Gold Project, hePillai said he thinks the quiet sleeper in all these development projects is BMC Minerals and its Kudz Ze Kayak open pit project southeast of Ross River, which is

now before the assessment board for review.

“We are getting into a strong cycle from an economic standpoint,
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” the minister said. “We are already there. The economy is going to hop right through thePillai said the forecast for a busier time ahead requires attention to detail, including the impact government spending on capital projects will have on the

anticipated drain of the workforce.

Drilling companies are concerned about the availability of skilled labour, he said.

Moving into the next phase of the Whistle Bend subdivision development will require an estimated 240 workers alone, Pillai said, but additional housing will be needed.

Developments such as the recently announced Mah’s Point Two condo building on Second Avenue will provide options for families looking to downsize, thus

springing loose more housing stock for the market, he pointed out.

Pillai said announcements of similar projects to Mah’s Point are coming down the pipe soon.

“Housing is a concern, and I have no problem saying that,” he said.

“We need everybody pulling and paddling in the same direction when it comes to housing.”

The minister noted the Kwanlin Dn First Nation has a really strong housing plan.

As well, the Ta’an Kwch’n Council is interested in building more multi residential apartments,
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similar to the three it constructed in the Whistle Bend subdivision.