Nunavut Inuit org breathes new life into Grays Bay project with $7.25M loan
Loan offered to Kitikmeot Inuit Association with conditions
When Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s annual general meeting wrapped up on Oct. 25 in Iqaluit with the passage of various resolutions, the birthright organization for Nunavut Inuit gave western Nunavut’s Grays Bay Road and Port Project a big boost.
The AGM delegates approved a 10-year loan of up to $7.25 million to the Kitikmeot Inuit Association from its future Nunavut Inuit Development Fund, following a pitch made by KIA President Stanley Anablak last August to the NTI board meeting in Cape Dorset.
The loan carries an interest rate of 2.5 per cent a year and monthly or annual payments based on a 10-year amortization schedule, and “subject to other standard terms and conditions of a loan agreement to be approved by NTI president,” the resolution reads.
The loan can be made in multiple instalments, and “will be provided if and when requested by Kitikmeot Inuit Association.”
When provided, each amount of money will be considered as an advance against any potential future allocations, under the Nunavut Inuit Development Fund, for projects based in the Kitikmeot region, the resolution said.
The commitment comes with conditions, however. The loan is conditional on confirmation by NTI’s executive committee that the KIA has sufficient funds or revenue, outside the Nunavut Trust core funding stream, to service the loan, and that KIA has a system and control in place to manage the loan.
The KIA and its wholly owned Nunavut Resources Corp. have been in charge of promoting the ambitious road and port project, whose price tag now sits at roughly $550 million.
In the resolution, while no direct mention was made of the $300,000 allegedly siphoned from the NRC’s bank account by a computer hacker, a reference to “a system and control in place to manage the loan” was added as an amendment to the resolution before it was passed.
To make Grays Bay eligible for federal infrastructure money in three years, the NRC needs $29 million, from NTI, the Government of Nunavut and the National Trade Corridors Fund, to make the project “shovel ready” by 2021 or 2022, and complete the environmental assessment process over the next 18 to 24 months, according to information shared at the KIA’s annual general meeting.
“Shovel ready” means the only task left to be done is to move earth, after all permits are in place, Inuit impact and benefit agreements are signed and the design is complete, the NRC report to the KIA meeting said.
For the environmental assessment, the KIA plans to use Inuit traditional knowledge and contemporary knowledge as the basis of its environmental impact statement.
The Grays Bay project in western Nunavut would involve the construction of a 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.
Promoters had wanted the GN to commit $138 million to the project, but last March the GN decided not to spend any more money on the project other than the $2 million given to help the project’s development.
The NRC and KIA met on Oct. 26 with the full caucus of the Nunavut legislature to gain more support for the project. But Grays Bay did not come up at all during the last sitting of the Nunavut legislature, which wrapped up earlier this month.