Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut July 03, 2018 - 9:30 am

Prospects brighten for Kitikmeot gold miner’s expansion plans

Nunavut Impact Review Board recommends approval of three new gold mines at Hope Bay

An aerial view of the Hope Bay gold project. (FILE PHOTO)
An aerial view of the Hope Bay gold project. (FILE PHOTO)
Here's where the Hope Bay project is located, east of Bathurst Inlet and about 153 km southwest of Cambridge Bay. (IMAGE COURTESY OF TMAC)
Here's where the Hope Bay project is located, east of Bathurst Inlet and about 153 km southwest of Cambridge Bay. (IMAGE COURTESY OF TMAC)

TMAC Resources Inc. has cleared a big milestone in its plans to develop three new underground gold mines in Nunavut’s Kitikmeot region.

On Tuesday, June 24, the Nunavut Impact Review Board recommended that the federal government approve the company’s plans to expand its operations at its Hope Bay property, about 150 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay.

TMAC has operated the Doris North gold mine at Hope Bay since early 2017, after scooping up the 1,600-square-kilometre property earlier from Newmont Mining Corp.

TMAC hopes to have mining operations underway at its Madrid North and Madrid South deposits by 2020, and at its Boston deposit by 2022.

The company estimates that Hope Bay holds 3.6 million ounces of proven and probable gold resources.

The new gold mines are expected to produce about 160,000 ounces of gold each year until at least 2032.

The company anticipates it will hire 70 people during the first year of construction, and up to 300 by the third year of construction. During operations, the company would employ about 800 people.

“This progress is in large part a testament to the proactive and diligent work by the Kitikmeot Inuit Association and our environmental affairs team during the NIRB process,” said Jason Neal, TMAC’s president and CEO, in a news release.

“We look forward to working with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Kitikmeot communities and government departments during the balance of the NIRB and [Nunavut Water Board] coordinated review process that is anticipated to provide TMAC with new project certificates later in 2018 and water licences in 2019.”

The impact review board stated in a news release that it heard widespread support for the project during public hearings held in Cambridge Bay in May.

However, it did hear concerns from residents about the project’s potential environmental impacts, including the potential impact on nearby caribou herds, the cumulative effects of shipping, the effects of discharging groundwater through a pipeline into nearby Roberts Bay, and the possibility of fuel spills.

To address these concerns, the board has recommended 54 measures to try to limit the environmental impacts of the project.

“The board is confident that if TMAC complies with the recommended terms and conditions, and builds on their experience and knowledge gained during the current operations at the Doris North gold mine, the project will yield lasting benefits to the residents of the Kitikmeot, Nunavut and Canada in general,” states a news release issued by the impact review board.

The company says it presently has three camps with significant infrastructure at Hope Bay, including a 1,000 tonne per day processing plant, air strips, roads, fuel storage, a port and power plants. New infrastructure that would be built includes additional camps and waste management facilities at Boston, and construction of an all-weather road to link the different sites at the property.

TMAC has signed an impact and benefit agreement with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association as the project sits mostly on Inuit-owned land controlled by the Kitikmeot Inuit Association and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. The project is expected to generate about $400 million in royalties, mineral taxes and other payments.

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(5) Comments:

#1. Posted by Golden Owl on July 03, 2018

Hoping that these mines are the cleanest in the world and reputation for caring for the mines now & afterwards will be second to none. Inevitable that mines are here up north & Inuit should participate in every aspect on the life of the mines.

#2. Posted by Colin on July 04, 2018

So how many Inuit will get the jobs? Given that it’s now some 30 years since the Nunavut project got the go-ahead, there should be essentially 100 percent employment of northerners including the geologists, engineers and mine managers.

On the other hand ... is it all about what Indian Chief Clarence Louie calls rocking-chair money when speaking of royalties and taxes?

Does the Nunavut education department even have an inventory of the jobs and the required qualifications at territorial mines?

#3. Posted by Qualified Person on July 05, 2018

As many who want to work. I have worked with many Inuit people over
the years, and they do a really good job, same as anyone else.
One day they decide to quit. It is up to them, same as anyone else!

#4. Posted by boris pasternak on July 05, 2018

i just hope that the “road” does not become an issue again. mining companies if you want road, build it yourself, i do not want my taxes handed over to foreign nations. trumps is giving me enough head ache. what a shyster eh?

#5. Posted by Joe on July 06, 2018

This region is sure pro mining! Has this region worked on building capacity before these mines start?

Or are we going to see majority of the workers coming from other parts of the world?

And I agree, I hope that over priced road stays out of tax payers wallets, put that money towards training and education for the region instead, the rich mines if they really needed the road can build it like other mines have done in other regions.

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