QC pursues new seal deal with Makivik and Sakku
Though an agreement with a Chinese firm has fallen through, the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation is pursuing a new seal marketing deal with development corporations in Nunavik and Kivalliq.
IQALUIT — A much-touted deal to revive the seal industry in Nunavut has collapsed.
But Baffin’s Qikiqtaaluk Corporation is now pursuing a new deal with Nunavik’s Makivik Corporation and the Kivalliq region’s Sakku Corporation.
A partnership between QC and a Chinese company to harvest and process seals for markets in China fell apart last month.
China Heilongjiang International Project and Technical Co-operation Group Corporation (CHPT) and QC signed a memorandum of understanding last year in which the Inuit birthright corporation would invest 60 per cent and CHPT would invest 40 per cent in a joint deal to sell seal meat and oil in China.
“Unfortunately, CHPT, for whatever reason, has chosen not to invest their 40 per cent into this new venture,” Ell said this week.
Ell said though no reason was given, staff from his office who visited CHPT’s operation in Harbin, China last December expressed concern about the company’s capacity to see the deal which would have seen about 20,000 seals harvested in the first year.
Ell added he felt the deal start to collapse in late January after a meeting in Toronto with CHPT officials.
“When we were talking dollars, they would shy away from the subject,” he explained.
QC spent about $60,000 pursuing the deal with CHPT.
New deal with Makivik and Sakku
In mid-February, QC’s board of directors voted to cancel the deal with CHPT and pursue a similar deal with Makivik Corporation from Nunavik, and Sakku Corporation from Keewatin.
“We’re moving a little slower,” Ell now says, admitting the deal hoped for with the Chinese was too much, too soon.
Makivik’s Pita Ataami and Sakku’s Joe Kaludjak were expected to meet with Ell this week in Iqaluit to finalize a shareholders’ agreement in which each corporation would invest one-third in the venture. The agreement would establish the Natsiq Investment Corporation and likely set up a processing plant in Iqaluit.
“So far, they’ve indicated they’re willing to set up shop anywhere,” Ell said of Makivik’s interest in the venture.
Ell said a study being completed this month should detail the infrastructure in place to transport seals and seal products and indicate financial investments needed to harvest 20,000 seals, a number Ell is still touting as the goal.