Grays Bay port and road project has new proponent

West Kitikmeot Gold Corp. receives transfer of around $20M to help with permitting process

West Kitikmeot Gold Corp. CEO Brendan Bell, left, stands with Kitikmeot Inuit Association board member Randy Hinanik; Yvonne Jones, parliamentary secretary to the minister of northern affairs; Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson; and Stephanie Hébert, assistant deputy minister for Transport Canada. The photo was taken Nov. 22, when federal funding was transferred to West Kitikmeot Gold to help with the permitting process for the Grays Bay road and port project. (Photo courtesy of Claudine Santos)

By David Lochead

There is a new proponent pushing the Grays Bay port and road project forward.

“It’s an exciting day for us, but it’s really the first step,” said Brendan Bell, CEO of West Kitikmeot Gold Corp., an Inuit-owned exploration company.

His company recently received $20 million to help with the project’s permitting process.

The money, which comes from the federal government, originally went to the project’s former proponent, Kitikmeot Inuit Association. The association transferred the sum to West Kitikmeot Gold on Nov. 22 under the agreement that the company become the main proponent.

KIA backed out as the project’s proponent in January.

Bell said he hopes Grays Bay port and road — a 230-kilometre all-season road and deepsea port that would link western Nunavut’s mineral-rich region to the rest of Canada — will be ready for construction in about four years.

Grays Bay has been estimated to cost $550 million. But with the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation, that number changed.

“[Costs are now] north of that,” Bell said.

He said he imagines a financing model made up of the federal government taking on 75 per cent of the capital and the other 25 per cent privately funded.

“I love that Canada is making an earnest and renewed commitment to Arctic infrastructure,” Bell said.

“I think they are seized with the need for critical minerals development.”

Grays Bay road would serve a particularly mineral rich part of Nunavut. Some politicians and industry leaders have expressed concern that the draft land-use plan for the territory could lock away those minerals from development.

When asked about this, Bell said mining companies do have concerns but the plan is “not yet set in stone.”

He also said West Kitikmeot Gold’s ownership has experience with the project permitting process.

“It’s not a completely new concept to us,” he said.

In that vein, Bell expressed a desire to design Grays Bay in a way that is supported by Kitikmeot Inuit. That means bringing Inuit in to get their thoughts on possible impacts to wildlife, marine mammals, flora and fauna.

Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson witnessed West Kitikmeot Gold take over the project at an event he hosted in Ottawa on Parliament Hill.

Patterson pointed out that having more infrastructure in the North will help increase Arctic sovereignty, adding senior officials from the United States embassy were at the event.

He said he has met several times with David Cohen, the U.S. ambassador to Canada.

“[Cohen] is very interested in the North and very interested in this project for sovereignty and security reasons,” Patterson said.


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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by $20 million parking permit on

    $20 million Canadian tax dollars for a permit process? What in the…

  2. Posted by I live in the Arctic on

    I have hope this will go well or better than expected.

  3. Posted by Fran yhuiz on

    $20milll!! Give that money to a food bank

  4. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Here’s some good news – Dennis Patterson is 74 years old (born December 30, 1948) and the Senate has a maximum age limit of 75.

    Bye bye Dennis.

    We really do need the legislation updated to reflect that a Senator must live in the province or territory that they represent.

  5. Posted by True North on

    Whats the difference between West Kitikmeot and East Kitikmeot? West is better than the East Kitikmeot? After all we are all one region. I make a motion for the road to go Kitikmeot East too!

  6. Posted by Anonymous on

    It’s a no wonder wildlife such as caribou, wolves and/or other predators are declining. Ancestors and our forefathers have relied on wild life to survive out on the land. Why not donate the money to worthy cause such as Food Bank, homeless shelter just to name a few.

  7. Posted by Behind the Numbers on

    Directly from West Kitikmeot Gold’s Website,
    “West Kitikmeot Gold Corp’s largest shareholder is the Nunavut Resources Corporation (“NRC”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association (“KIA”).”
    So KIA gave the money to… themselves.
    Also interesting to note, a name that doesn’t seem to surface much anymore, is that sitting on West Kit Gold’s Board of Directors is none other than Leona Aglukkaq. I wonder how much she gets paid to sit as a Director for West Kitikmeot Gold. Really loving the gravy train.
    According to public SEC filings, during the course of 2021 and 2022 she made $617,486 in compensation as a Director of Agnico Eagle’s Board, which she still sits on. She was previously a Director on the Board for TMAC, where she made $230,999 in 2018 compensation, and she was also a Director on the Board of a company called North Bud Farms, where in 2018 she made over $93,000 in option-based awards. North Bud Farms ceased operations though, so hopefully she cashed in her options early, I wouldn’t want her to struggle financially.
    I hope they have good internet in West Bay, NS.

    • Posted by Pretty Good Gig on

      Don’t forget that when she was defeated in the 2015 election she would have received approximately $123,000 in severance pay and is now entitled to the MP pension plan, receiving approximately $50k per year for her 7 years of service.

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