Final hearings on Nunavut mine to be held this summer

Rankin Inlet will host a week’s worth of meetings on Meliadine gold mine


If you want to have a say over how Agnico Eagle operates its Meliadine gold mine near Rankin Inlet, you’ll get an opportunity to do so this summer.

The Nunavut Impact Review Board has announced a week of meetings at the community hall in Rankin Inlet, from Aug. 21 Aug. 27, which will include technical presentations, community roundtables and a site visit.

This final hearing will help the NIRB assess Agnico Eagle’s proposal for its Meliadine mine, a gold project that will be connected to Rankin Inlet by a 24-kilometre all-weather road.

The NIRB says the schedule “has been arranged such that the first portion of the final hearing will consist of formal proceedings, including technical presentations, while the latter portion will allow for more directed community engagement through community roundtable sessions.”

At least two of those days of hearings — one technical and one community roundtable — will include an evening component so people who work during the day can still have an opportunity to participate, the NIRB said in a May 30 announcement.

All proceedings will be conducted with simultaneous Inuktitut and English interpretation. French interpretation will be provided upon request.

Those who would like official intervener status must apply by June 23. Those who wish to submit a written submission, in any of Nunavut’s official languages, must do so by July 21.

Agnico Eagle submitted its final environmental impact statement in May 2014.

Meliadine will effectively ramp up once Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank gold mine, about 100 km from Baker Lake, reaches the ends of its expected life in 2018.

If all the necessary licensing approvals come through, the company is hoping to move Meliadine into production by 2019.

It expects to hire 1,000 workers during the three-year construction phase and then employ 700 people during production.

In a joint submission in 2013, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and Qikiqtani Inuit Association expressed concerns over the mine’s proximity to the Qamanirjuaq caribou herd, a prime food source for Kivallirmiut.

The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board’s website shows the traditional calving grounds of the caribou within about 50 kilometres of the proposed Meliadine mine.

Agnico Eagle said in its final EIS that, according to Government of Nunavut studies, some caribou have moved through or near the mine site area in recent years, including during the post-calving and late summer seasons.

The herd will likely lose 33,402 hectares of habitat due to “existing and future developments,” the final EIS report says, and about 14,412 hectares of habitat due to sensory disturbances such as traffic.

But as with many disturbances, the report says the effects are “expected to be reversible in the long-term.”

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