Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut June 06, 2018 - 11:30 am

On Grays Bay, Western Nunavut Inuit org comes out swinging

Statements made in legislature are "either inaccurate or need to be clarified"

Kitikmeot Inuit Association President Stanley Anablak, seen here at last October association's annual general meeting in Cambridge Bay, says he wants to set the record straight about the Grays Bay Port and Road Project. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
Kitikmeot Inuit Association President Stanley Anablak, seen here at last October association's annual general meeting in Cambridge Bay, says he wants to set the record straight about the Grays Bay Port and Road Project. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

The Kitikmeot Inuit Association, which represents Inuit in western Nunavut’s five communities, says statements made last week in the legislative assembly about the Grays Bay Road and Port Project are “either inaccurate or need to be clarified to prevent misunderstanding about the events and actions that prompted them.”

Economic Development Minister Joe Savikataaq told the legislature on May 30 that the Government of Nunavut had decided to pull out of the Grays Bay project even before the federal government had rejected its funding proposal under the federal trades corridors program, and that “it was jointly agreed between the KIA and our government that we would hold off.”

Not so, said KIA President Stanley Anablak in a news release on Monday, June 4.

“KIA never requested to be the sole proponent of this project prior to the Government of Nunavut’s abandoning its role as co-proponent,” he said.

“Given the GN’s decision and our desire to continue to push the project forward, the only choice available to KIA was to become the sole proponent of the GBRP project,” Anablak said.

The GN said it would have had to commit 25 per cent of the estimated cost, or about $138 million, much more than the $2 million it did commit to the project’s development in June 2017.

“We would have had to put our share of the money out to make sure the road is done,” is how Savikataaq put it on May 31, responding to questions from Kugluktuk MLA Mila Kamingoak.

But the KIA said it had a financing plan that wouldn’t involve the territorial government being on the hook for all these funds, thanks to help from an unnamed third party that could be secured with GN support.

Anablak said the KIA tried on three recent occasions to speak with the GN about the project’s finances, without success.

“These offers were made in person in October and February, and by letter in April. None of these offers were taken up. This could explain in part the error in Minister Savikataaq’s statement that the GN needs to put up $138 million to “get it done.”

“The KIA was never given the opportunity to explain our approach to financing to the GN,” Anablak said, adding that the previous GN leadership—that of former Premier Peter Taptuna, who comes from western Nunavut—understood the approach and in fact helped to develop the financing plan.

The KIA also challenged statements made in the legislature that compared the Grays Bay project to private mining roads at the sites of Agnico Eagle Ltd.’s Meadowbank gold mine and Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s Mary River mine.

“Agnico Eagle in the Kivalliq built three roads totalling over 220 kilometres on their own,” Savikataaq said May 30. “They received no money from the federal government or from the territorial government. Baffinland Mines on Baffin Island built a road. I’m not sure how far it is, but I believe it’s at least 100 kilometres long. They did not receive any funding. “

Anablak said Grays Bay isn’t the same kind of project. Instead, it’s “an Inuit-led, regional infrastructure project that will generate economic development, especially on Inuit-owned lands where mineral rights are held.”

“By creating access to these lands, KIA is aiming to create jobs, business opportunities and wealth for our membership. This economic development will be first and foremost for the benefit of Inuit, as contemplated by the Inuit negotiators of the Nunavut Agreement. However, it will also substantially benefit the governments of Nunavut and Canada by generating tax revenues and royalties. “

The Grays Bay project would involve the construction of 227-kilometre all-weather road running from the site of the defunct Jericho mine, which is located at the northern end of the Tibbit-Contwoyto winter road, to a deep-sea port at Grays Bay on Coronation Gulf.

There are significant non-mining related benefits, such as lowered cost of community re-supply, which would benefit Kitikmeot residents and the GN alike, he said.

The KIA said it still plans to forge ahead with the $500-million project, despite the GN’s decision to back away from the proposal.

“We are committed to moving the project forward to shovel-readiness, funding, construction and operation,” Anablak said, repeating a message made this past April when the KIA first learned about the GN pullout.

This spring, the KIA was disappointed to learn Grays Bay would not receive funding under the federal trades corridors program, which went instead to Nunavut airport overhauls.

But the KIA hasn’t yet given up on the GN.

“In the continuing spirit of cooperation, KIA remains very willing to meet with GN leadership to explain this project in the detail necessary to be fully understood,” Anablak said.


Email this story to a friend... Print this page... Bookmark and Share Comment on this story...

(16) Comments:

#1. Posted by Northern Guy on June 06, 2018

It seems that it is the KitIA that has to get a better handle on the facts. By asking the GN to guarantee 25% of the project costs the KitIA were in fact asking the GN to pay those costs in the event that a third party financing agreement fell apart. As a result the GN, as a prudent manager of public money, would have had to put aside $138 million of its annual budget until such time as financing was completed or the project had to draw down against those funds, which given the life of the project would have taken that money out of the GN’s coffers for a significant period of time. In either case $138 million in public funds would have been unavailable to the GN to pay for other more pressing government priorities. It is upsetting but not entirely unexpected that the KitIA would propose a financing arrangement that plays fast and loose with public money while providing very little in direct benefit to Nunavummiut.

#2. Posted by eskimo joe on June 06, 2018

138 million…that is awful lot of dough for a foreign country (through kia) to ask of from gn. we can’t even afford healing facilities (facility) in nunavut or the regions that will be needed in two to threes years time, we’re gonna have lot of disturb ppl in nunavut once gn implements legal cannabis sells.  what is exactly kia after? the absolute and only beneficiary would be a mine owned by chinese government. kia just lick your wounds and walk away. but, even a fight for ferry/cargo service at the end of road to nowhere to the five communities, then perhaps at least one tooth would make the bite in this fiasco. why would mla and kia should even ask gn for 138 mil with (and the mla knew this) housing and essential services for nunavut are all in short-fall at every front? you guys would be very welcome in asia and perhaps dual citizens with china and canada? luuccky… leave it up to your great great grandchildren to change the world, nunavummiut today are to weak and hungry.

#3. Posted by The Old Trapper on June 06, 2018

Let me ask again why the Canadian or territorial governments should finance a project where the primary beneficiary is China Min Metals, a state owned company of the People’s Republic of China.

If China wants the natural resources, then let them finance the GBRP, and make sure that they post a sufficient bond to cover clean-up and reclamation. Let’s also make sure that there are enough benefits for Nunavut because once these metals are mined they are gone for good.

#4. Posted by More then 1 Mine on June 06, 2018

I think people need to understand that there is more then 1 mine in play here.  This road would not go to MMG. They would still need to build a spur road to connect. KIA is asking to own and toll a road to the Izok Corridor attached the the winter road, to bring the cost of resources extraction down.

If you cannot get the minerals out, especially those outside of Diamonds, Gold, and Silver that can be sent out on a airplane, not much benefit to Inuit to have the sub surface rights…....

KIA is looking ahead for long term sustainable mining, to ensure that there is always mining in the region, but making it easier for companies to get to and remove the resources. With more consistent mining, Inuit could grow into higher jobs and maybe it would lead to Inuit owned Mine Operation.

I think KIA is thinking ahead so it will have the wealth to solve some of the regions problems, but lets all remember if it does not benefit Iqaluit its probably a stupid idea….....

#5. Posted by Miner on June 06, 2018

Every other region the mining companies build their roads and ports, I guess Kitikmeot can’t get the mining company to build it? What’s wrong in Kitikmeot? Your priorities are wrong, work on training and education, housing and treatment/healing centres. These big mining companies if they really want to invest they will, if not wait a year or two and another company will come alone. In the meantime invest in your people to get trained and educated.

#6. Posted by eskimo joe on June 06, 2018

#4, that is well though out plan for economic sustainability for your region, sure it would be nice to have a road, like the other operating mines in two other regions, let the mines in your region build the road. speaking of foreign government fleecing canada through kia, too much.

#7. Posted by Jeff on June 06, 2018

KIA fighting a losing battle. A road in a mining area that will mostly benefit mining companies & KIA cronies doesn’t seem like a good investment of limited financial resources. If KIA wants road bad enough they will find a way. Just don’t count on any govt $ handouts.

#8. Posted by Old Time Miner on June 06, 2018

#3, #5 - These deposits just aren’t economic without infrastructure in place.  High Lake was found 65 years ago, Izok was found 40 years ago.  They were owned by Canadian companies long before China Min Metals.  Nobody could develop them because they can’t do it without infrastructure.  If a mining company could make money by building infrastructure and a mine and extracting these resources it would have been done long ago.  Inmet looked at building a road from Izok to Kugluktuk in the 90’s - didn’t make sense.  Kennecott looked at a road from High Lake to the coast - didn’t make sense.

If Inuit want to benefit from these resources with jobs and royalties then they should be pushing for a road to be built.  If they don’t want to benefit then status quo is fine, the minerals stay in the ground - no jobs, no royalties… Sometimes it takes government investment to spur private investment, no judgement intended, just reality.

#9. Posted by sled dog on June 06, 2018

perhaps if you want it built, Partner with Kinder Morgan to come in and build the road. then get together with greenpeace,, Climate Barbie, NDP and Green governments and others to protest the hell out of building the road it until the project is almost doomed.  Then watch Trudeau come in and nationalize the road.

And sure enough, you will have your road.

#10. Posted by pissed off on June 06, 2018

These 2 mines were discovered a long time ago.
The reason they are not working is that they are not economicaly feasible. Guess what, Kitikmeot people??
There are hundreds such a mine all over the world that are know to contain large amount of minerals but are not feasibly economical. And what happens?? The stuff stays in the ground.
The only reason to push for those 2 mines is to benefit the KIA cronies and corporations that would get their hands on those contracts extracted from the Government and the mining companies by political forces.

There are tons of projects all over Canada feasible only if the Governments pour large amounts of money into these sinkholes. I agree some of them get done but Thank God the great majority never happen.
Let`s put this one to rest please.

Thank you

#11. Posted by Northern Inuit on June 06, 2018

Dude, the horse has been throat punched, beaten, boot fooked, stabbed, robbed, pillaged, body slammed, put in a figure four then shot.

I don’t think you need to kick it while it’s down.

the GN walked away.  if you want this Road and Port built, please look at other options.  don’t expect us taxpayers to build it. 

and this is coming from one of your Beneficiaries.

#12. Posted by Nadda on June 06, 2018

KIA quit your pipe dream for another day.  There are enough other opportunities happening now.  There is mining happening everywhere and not enough Inuit employed in each of them.  Focus on training your so called beneficiaries, instead of your own damn pockets!

#13. Posted by Knockout Ned on June 07, 2018

“However, it will also substantially benefit the governments of Nunavut and Canada by generating tax revenues and royalties.”

Why doesn’t someone ask the Department of Finance how much in taxation and royalties it receives from AEM and Baffinland?

You’ll see.

#14. Posted by Northern Inuit on June 07, 2018

who would benefit?

Mining Companies > KIA > Kitikmeot Corporation > Kitnuna Group of Companies > Companies in Partnership with K.C> Joe Operator > That Squirrel > Rest of Nunavut

I think I see why GN said no

#15. Posted by Putuguk on June 07, 2018

There are really just 2 choices.

Wait until base metal prices spike again when the companies might be able to make it through the regulatory process in time to finance and build the road and port themselves.

We do not know when and if that will be. In the meantime people need work and lower living costs.

Also under this choice, the mining company pays no-one to use a road and port they build themselves.

Other choice is to own and operate the road, induce development, and take in the toll revenue, plus the jobs, contracts, royalties and taxes.

Much of Nunavut has such a passive stance on everything. Unless we get in there and start doing it ourselves, there is a hard limit to the benefits that will be seen.

Then people criticize the status quo where it is only southern investors or people or heaven forbid another country making all the bucks.

It is a self fulfilling attitude same as with Inuit employment and contracting.

#16. Posted by Northern Guy on June 07, 2018

#15 so what you are saying is that the taxpaying public should be shouldering the financial risk for this project? If base metal prices are as volatile as you suggest perhaps they should stay in the ground! Why is it acceptable for the Canadian taxpayer to carry the financial burden when it seems to be too risky for well financed mining companies to undertake?

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?