Nunavut regulator finds mining company’s pipeline plan response lacking
“The scope and content of the information provided to date by Agnico Eagle as the impact statement addendum is not sufficient”
The Nunavut Impact Review Board has found that Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.’s initial response to their request for more information about the potential impacts of the proposed pipeline at the Meliadine mine is insufficient.
“The scope and content of the information provided to date by Agnico Eagle as the impact statement addendum is not sufficient,” said NIRB Executive Director Karen Costello in a July 17 letter to Jamie Quesnel, Agnico Eagle’s regional manager for permitting and regulatory affairs.
Impact statements are considered in the NIRB’s assessment of the potential impacts associated with any given project, a critical first step before beginning a technical review.
In the case of the Meliadine pipeline project, this means that an Agnico Eagle submission would need to clearly identify the changes and updates to the management and monitoring plans already in place at the mine.
Such an addendum should be a stand-alone document that describes all aspects of the project proposal that can be reviewed by an intervener and the public, said a June 15 letter from Sophia Granchinho, a NIRB impact assessment manager, to Quesnel.
According to Costello’s letter, that response was insufficient in several key areas.
It lacked supporting evidence, a complete project description and scope, an environmental management system, the incorporation of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and an element of public engagement.
On June 30 the NIRB put out a call for written responses from the public.
Several community members responded, sending letters, photos and even a video, expressing many of the same concerns, including a lack of proper public consultation.
“I believe the community of Rankin Inlet was not adequately given the opportunity in March to receive the details of AEM’s water disposal plans,” said Brian Zawadski in a July 4 email to the NIRB.
Zawadski also pointed out that while written responses may be the norm for organizations, they’re not for residents of Rankin Inlet and other communities.
Given the restrictions put on public gatherings due to COVID-19 precautions, Zawadski suggested the possibility of mail and social media campaigns or even a radio phone‐in show.
“We need to be creative and find some alternative means to get the message out to gather a better sense of community response,” he said.
A July 24 letter from Quesnel to Costello indicated that Agnico Eagle would submit a revised final environmental impact statement addendum to the NIRB the week of August 10.