Mining company sheds portion of Nunavut gold mine, for now

Sabina simplifies its project to simplify the regulatory process

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

The airstrip used by Sabina Gold and Silver to bring in the supplies they need for exploration, in a photo taken in 2011. (PHOTO COURTESY OF SABINA)


The airstrip used by Sabina Gold and Silver to bring in the supplies they need for exploration, in a photo taken in 2011. (PHOTO COURTESY OF SABINA)

A Kitikmeot map showing the location of Sabina's Goose property, part of the Back River gold mine, which would cover an area of about 53 square kilometres. (MAP COURTESY OF SABINA)


A Kitikmeot map showing the location of Sabina’s Goose property, part of the Back River gold mine, which would cover an area of about 53 square kilometres. (MAP COURTESY OF SABINA)

On the heels of what they described as a “very compelling” feasibility study for the Back River gold project in western Nunavut, Sabina Gold and Silver Corp. says it hopes to have a final environmental impact study done by this November.

That, along with other updates from the Canadian mining company, was contained in a July 3 letter to the Nunavut Impact Review Board from Matthew Pickard, the company’s vice president of environment and sustainability.

But before that final EIS is written, Sabina continues to shed parts of the project and simplify the regulatory process.

In its recent letter, for example, Sabina says it will remove the George mine development from the final EIS. The George site lies northwest of the main Goose property.

“Should Sabina consider to advance George at a later date [likely during operation] Sabina will re-engage the NIRB and others,” Pickard wrote.

Sabina has proposed a gold mine complex about 400 kilometres south of Cambridge Bay, just south of Bathurst Inlet, that would produce 300,000 to 400,000 ounces of gold per year, possibly starting in 2017.

A map included in Pickard’s correspondence to the NIRB, shows four main mining pits and a winter ice road about 150-km long that would connect the main Goose Lake property to the marine laydown area on a peninsula in Bathurst Inlet, which would provide shipping access to Coronation Gulf.

The entire Goose property occupies an area roughly 53 square km in size.

Sabina is also pulling out of a parallel NIRB-Nunavut Water Board process that would have allowed the company to include a Type A Water License Application in the final EIS.

But the company plans to drop that for now rather than, “undertake a significant and expensive 2015 engineering and field program,” Pickard wrote. Instead, they’ll apply for the water licence later, after the NIRB process is complete, he said.

By dropping the George exploration property and the water license application, Sabina can shed a number of items from its final EIS.

The company had hoped to further streamline its approval process earlier this year by requesting the NIRB exempt some early development work from the final EIS report. The NIRB rejected that request.

Sabina has also addressed a number of concerns raised in the NIRB’s Pre-Hearing Conference Decision Report with what it calls a list of “project enhancements.”

Those enhancements include simplifying the port facilities, rearranging and consolidating facilities at the Goose property, increasing power generation and changing how the company plans to mine for gold, use water and manage waste.

Sabina has requested the NIRB provide feedback on its new final EIS scope amendments

A map showing the proposed site layout of Sabina's Back River mine, south of Cambridge Bay. (COURTESY OF SABINA)


A map showing the proposed site layout of Sabina’s Back River mine, south of Cambridge Bay. (COURTESY OF SABINA)

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