'Rubber stamp' predicted by staff who quit in protest

Water board sets Doris North public hearing


A public hearing will be held Aug. 13 in Cambridge Bay for Miramar Mining Corp.'s proposed Doris North gold mine's water licence application.

The hearing is the final step before the Nunavut Water Board decides whether to grant a water licence for the proposed gold mine.

The announcement of the public meeting, just six days after the company submitted its application on May 3, is no surprise.

In an unusual move, water board members decided March 23 to begin planning for the Doris North public meeting, well before Miramar submitted its application.

That's at odds with the board's procedures, which call for this decision to be made only once an application has been deemed complete.

Water board representatives did not return phone calls to Nunatsiaq News.

But the decision to fast-track the Doris North file seems connected with a letter discussed at the March 23 meeting, written by the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, which expressed outrage at how the proposed gold mine has been tangled in red tape since 2002.

Six months ago the water board rejected Miramar's first water license application for Doris North, which it described as "ambiguous, inconsistent, and convoluted," and demanded it be resubmitted in full.

But Miramar's luck changed March 23, when the water board decided to fire without cause its executive director for the last decade, Philippe di Pizzo. Since di Pizzo's abrupt departure, four other water board staff have resigned in protest.

Some of these staff, who would only speak anonymously for fear of reprisal, said they expected the Doris North application to receive a "rubber stamp" of approval.

The water board may decide to skip the Doris North public hearing, if the company consents and no one contacts the board to announce their intention to attend the meeting.

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