At new satellite mine opening, Agnico Eagle hands out $1M in Baker Lake
“We are proud to contribute to the growth and prosperity of Baker Lake”
Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. celebrated the official opening of its new Amaruq Whale Tail project last weekend in Baker Lake by announcing $1 million in donations to four projects in the community of about 2,000 people.
Luc Chouinard, the general manager of Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank operations, announced the donations on Aug. 24 during the annual Baker Lake “Festival by the Lake,” sponsored by the mining company.
“Agnico Eagle is dedicated to developing mineral resources responsibly and for the benefit of all. We are proud to contribute to the growth and prosperity of Baker Lake and its surrounding communities. And, we are committed to creating strong communities and a legacy of support that will help nurture the next generation of Nunavummiut,” Chouinard said in a release about the donations.
Agnico Eagle operates the Meadowbank gold mine, about 110 kilometres from Baker Lake.
The new Amaruq Whale Tail site, which received its project certificate in 2018, will supply ore to the company’s Meadowbank mill.
The donations that Chouinard announced include $500,000 over the next five years for the Baker Lake Abluqta Society to establish a food bank and help address food insecurity in the region.
The five-year funding will support the delivery of a weekly hot lunch program for elders and weekly meals for volunteers. It will also ensure a steady supply of dry goods and reserve stocks for emergencies.
“You should have heard the audience cheering when this announcement was made! People were crying from happiness, said Joseph Arnasungaaq, Abluqta’s president, in a statement about the donation.
“This is a big load off my back. I am so happy and relieved for the hungry families in Baker Lake.”
“Ma’na to Agnico Eagle for this generous donation,” said Luc Gauvin, the vice-president of the Abluqta Society.
Chouinard also gave $250,000 to the Baker Lake Fire Department and $100,000 to the Hamlet of Baker Lake to purchase a garage to house and secure its new ambulance.
The ambulance was recently purchased by Arctic Fuel, a local supplier to Agnico Eagle, as a gift to the community.
However, due to a fire that destroyed one of the municipal garages in January, there was no place to safely park the ambulance and it could not be put into service, the release said.
Agnico Eagle also earmarked $150,000 for Baker Lake Search and Rescue to buy drones and other equipment to help in SAR operations, along with technical training and certification for the operators.
Last month, drones were called in to assist in a two-week search for a missing Baker Lake boater.
As well, $100,000 goes to Baker Lake’s Department of Recreation for the purchase of a new sound and lighting system for its community centre.
“What we’re hoping to achieve with our support for these community-identified priorities—helping the people of Baker Lake take a step forward and improve their lives by strengthening local food security, expanding their health care and emergency services, and by providing more opportunities to socially interact with their friends and family.” Chouinard said.
More than 2,000 people attended the community celebration for the Amaruq Whale Tail opening event, which took place shortly before a Nunavut Impact Review Board public hearing on the mining company’s “Whale Tail Pit-Expansion Project” proposal started on Monday, Aug. 26, in Baker Lake.
Amaruq, about 50 km northwest of the existing Meadowbank mine, will be an open-pit mine.
Right now, Agnico Eagle says there are 240 employees and contractors working at the site.
Once commercial production gets underway later this year, Amaruq Whale Tail will produce roughly 2.5 million ounces of gold until 2025, with annual gold production averaging 272,500 ounces, the company said.