Bathurst Inlet: site of a deep-sea Kitikmeot port?

A group of mining companies wants to build a port near Bathurst Inlet to transport minerals from proposed mines at Izok Lake and George Lake.


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT A study conducted by the Canadian Hydrographic Service has revived interest in building a deep-sea port in the Kitikmeot region.

Kit Resources Ltd. formerly known as Arauco Resources and several other mining companies, along with the GNWT, raised $900,000 last summer to chart the waters at the southern end of Bathurst Inlet.

The results show that water levels and the contours of the inlet are indeed suitable for large sea-going vessels.

“We think a site there would lower the mining costs of any project in that area,” said Kerry Knoll, a spokesman for Kit Resources Ltd.

The inlet is only 160 kilometres from an existing winter-road system that serves the Lupin gold mine.

And it’s just 70 kilometres north of the George Lake gold mining project owned by Kit Resources, the company that has most recently been floating the idea for a port.

“We’re talking about a port. We’re not talking about a massive infrastructure,” Knoll said.

“We’re talking about a dock with some cranes, similar to what they would have at Polaris or Nanisivik a place where a ship can dock, where you can unload fuel, and where you can load concentrate onto a ship.”

Kit Resources Ltd. recently announced its intention to take over the Izok Lake base-metals property from Inmet Mining Corporation formerly known as Metall Corporation.

The project was shelved four years ago because high transportation costs would have made any mine there financially unsustainable.

“There’s no way that Izok Lake could be built without a port site somewhere,” Knoll said.

A number of other mining companies operating in the region could also benefit from the lower cost of an ocean-based supply route, he said.

Currently, fuel and other supplies must be hauled up to 2,300 kilometres from Edmonton by rail, and across winter ice-roads.

The Kitikmeot Inuit Association, through its birthright development corporation, Kitikmeot Corp., has been asked to play a prominent role in building and operating any future port.

“We’re looking to them to be very directly involved in that port site,” Knoll said.

“There are a number of different ways it could come to fruition,” Knoll said. “But there’s a very strong possiblilty that it could become a privately funded consortium that could own this operation and lease it out to the users at the various mine sites.”

Mining companies previously considered building a port near Coppermine in the Coronation Gulf, but studies showed it wouldn’t work.

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