This map from a Grays Bay information pamphlet shows where the deep-sea port and road would be located in western Nunavut. The grand plan is now “stalled,” the Kitikmeot Inuit Association said on Tuesday, Oct. 6. (Screen shot)

Grays Bay Road and Port Project “stalled,” says Kitikmeot Inuit Association

$550M infrastructure project hits a wall

By Jane George

The Grays Bay Road and Port Project has stalled, says the Kitikmeot Inuit Association’s executive director, Paul Emingak.

In August 2019, the western Arctic road and deep-sea port project received $21.5 million from the federal government for preparatory work to get the $550-million project “shovel-ready” for regulators and investors.

The plan was to work at getting the project shovel-ready and then seek out federal funding to begin construction, said Emingak, speaking at the Luke Novoligak Community Hall during the KIA’s annual general meeting in Cambridge Bay on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Getting that money from Ottawa “in a post-COVID-19 world seems like a slam dunk as a source of economic stimulus,” Emingak said in his report.

Then, the project promoters planned to raise third-party capital and fund the rest of the construction process into operation, he said.

“Once in operation and, with usage charges in place, there would be revenue generation,” he said.

Last year, Grays Bay topped the KIA’s list of priorities for the coming year.

But now “the project has stalled,” Emingak said, saying the Nunavut Resources Corp., the KIA’s wholly owned subsidiary and the project’s main proponent, is off the file.

In February, the NRC’s president, Charlie Evalik, resigned. Then, in March, the KIA board decided to take over from NRC as lead for the Grays Bay project.

“The decision was not easy for KIA to make,” Emingak said.

The decision was made to add “more transparency and accountability to move the project forward.”

For now, the “NRC’s ability to generate revenue has been eliminated and its available cash has been significantly depleted,” Emingak said, adding that may be the last report from the NRC “for a while.”

Delegates to the AGM were to get a closed-door briefing on Grays Bay during the meeting, he said.

Back in 2010, the KIA said it wanted to see Inuit benefit from the “upside” of non-renewable resource development through the NRC.

The corporation planned to invest in gas, oil or mineral projects and bring them into production, but that didn’t happen although various deals were signed.

And in 2018 computer hackers stole $300,000 from the NRC.

During his report to the AGM on Monday, Emingak said the NRC had been running on $3 million it received in 2012 from the federal government.

He said the KIA hadn’t given the NRC any money for the past three years.

He also said that “the KIA did not advance the full amount of monies” received from the federal government. Instead, the KIA set aside $21.5 million to reimburse itself “for expenses incurred to the project.”

The $550-million Grays Bay project 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 Tibbitt-Contwoyto winter road, to a deep-sea port at Grays Bay on Coronation Gulf.

The Grays Bay road would overlap with a road proposed as part of the moribund Izok corridor zinc-lead mining project that’s been promoted by Chinese-owned MMG Ltd., but mothballed since April 2013.

At the AGM on Oct. 6, the KIA also released its financial statements, which showed a budget of about $15 million and roughly $56 million in assets.

The financial presentation from KIA President Stanley Anablak was broadcast live on Facebook but due to poor audio on the feed, it was hard to follow.

The financial statements have not been posted on the KIA’s Facebook page.

From other documents posted on the KIA Facebook page, it is clear that COVID-19 has had a large financial impact on its operations: there have been fewer royalties from TMAC Resources Inc.’s Hope Bay gold mine, which slowed production in March, and a suspension of ongoing negotiations on the Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement with the federal government concerning the Franklin wrecks site.

As a COVID-19 precaution, the KIA AGM, while broadcast online, was not open to the general public—only to the KIA board, registered community delegates and KIA staff.

As well, the KIA decided there would be no community feast and no arts and crafts sales this year due to the public health measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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(17) Comments:

  1. Posted by Oh darn on

    That’s too bad. I guess they’ll have to resort to their backup plan: helping Kitikmeot Inuit.

    • Posted by josywales on

      Kitikmeot Beneficiaries, you the power to stop this clown show. Elect younger, smarter candidates for the KIA Board next round.

      • Posted by General Mills on

        The younger, smarter candidates turn out to be just as useless and self absorbed once elected.

        • Posted by Voter on

          I agree, young people step up, we need fresh blood to make better choices and improvements.
          Take that step and make a difference, it’s time.

  2. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    That’s too bad.
    This group of businessmen are handling this deal like they treated Kitnuna Group of Companies and we know how great that turned out.
    Did Mr Omilgoitok or Mr Stevenson give any updates on that debacle? Are they going to finish cleaning up the Upper and Lower Tank Farms or did they just wash their hands of it when they let Kitnuna Petroleum shit the bed? Rather convenient isn’t it, I guess the Hamlet will have to deal with that environmental disaster.
    Who owns the Land Remediation Farm towards water lake now, maybe they are crossing their fingers they can make money with all that contaminated soil.

  3. Posted by Northern Guy on

    This is the best news I have heard all day. Enough of these banana republic back room shenanigans. Let this project die before any more Canadian taxpayer’s money is wasted on this white elephant.

  4. Posted by Jeff on

    If I recall correctly, the Kitikmeot has several really! sharp guys living in the region who should have been given this project to manage & steer years ago (initials KP & CL). KIAkit have displayed nothing but ineptitude & incompetence acquiring & running business subsidiaries into the ground. And NRC was simply an entity struck up to let some folks make big bucks & travel the country. So sad for Kitikmeot beneficiaries for getting their hopes & dreams dashed again ?

  5. Posted by anonymous on

    I have not been a fan of the road port project since the 1st one which was initiated years ago (Bathurst Inlet Road & Port Project) which never happened. Beautiful nuna, it’s a no wonder the caribou herd coming up has declined. Mining companies and/or any KIA, NTI board -think of our ancestors who survived living off the land, the animals they hunt to feed their families. I am also appalled that KIA actually held their AGM despite the global pandemic still in effect daily. Just my 2 cents for the day.

    • Posted by Observer on

      How, exactly, have projects that have not happened caused the caribou herd to decline?

    • Posted by Fact Checker on

      My fridge is full of Caribou that died from hunters not miners.

  6. Posted by pissed off on

    What a mess this organisation is !

    A real juicy book could be written about the “ Inuit corporations “ in the Kitikmeot in the last 30 years if only someone would be able to untangle this comedy of the same old actors wearing so many hats.

    However guess what the ever present provider of funds for this mess is always ?
    the Federal Government in one way or the other

    Shame !!

  7. Posted by Former miner on

    Put that money into a trades school for the region instead, build the capacity to work in these mines, heavy equipment, housing, construction, electrician, plumber so on.
    Instead for the Chinese company, put it towards the Inuit in the region instead. Education and trades are they key to improving.

    • Posted by Fact Checker on

      You think that the road and port project is for the Chinese?
      Perhaps you didn’t have tens of thousands of your stuff held in a facility somewhere because a shipment decided to not deliver to your community. For some businesses there was nothing salvageable.
      Redundancy benefits everyone.
      Good idea about the Kitikmeot trade school. Maybe it can be a camp based at Grays Bay; and they can learn how to build a road and Port.

      • Posted by Northern Guy on

        Your statement is based on the somewhat false assumption that the NWT ice roads will always there. Their reliability is an ongoing question. When the ice roads finally go either because of climate change or the closure of the diamond mines, how does a “road to nowhere” help anyone except the mineral property holders along its route?

  8. Posted by delbert on

    What will happen once all the monies are drained from these Inuit corporations? Who will there be to blame? I

  9. Posted by miner 1 on

    Maybe we should invest in pans and pan for gold. There’s lots to be had in the Kitikmeot. Instead of selling gold in the ground for $1 an ounce when someone else takes it out, we can get the full $2500 an ounce for ourselves by doing a bit of actual work.

  10. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    So Nunavut Resources Corporation had “$300,000” stolen and hacked. In this day and age does anyone believe that? Is KIA just accepting this at face value?!?!

    If someone owed you $500 they would go after you harder than KIA has gone after these guys. Since the inception of NRC, how much of a golden handshake did Mr Evalik receive? How much did he walk away with?

    What a sad state of affairs we live in. No accountability at all. Maybe by next years AGM they are hoping we all forget about it.

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