Review board recommends against Meliadine mine extension

Underground mining activity in existing open pits would extend gold mine’s life by 11 years, company says

The Nunavut Impact Review Board is recommending that the Meliadine mine near Rankin Inlet not be extended, the board announced on Nov. 17. (File photo)

By Madalyn Howitt

The Nunavut Impact Review Board has recommended against a proposal to extend the life of Meliadine gold mine.

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. owns the mine, which has been producing gold near Rankin Inlet since 2019.

The company submitted a proposal last year to do underground mining in two open pits at the site and construct wind turbines and a new runway for airplanes.

The company estimates approval would extend the operations phase of the mine by 11 years, to 2043. 

In a statement released Nov. 17, NIRB chairperson Kaviq Kaluraq said the board’s decision came down to concerns about the environmental impacts of the project, specifically on the Qamanirjuaq caribou herd.

NIRB is an independent body responsible for assessing the social and economic impact of development projects in Nunavut and making recommendations to the federal government about whether they should be permitted.

The board also expressed concerns about potential impacts to air quality in the area and water quality in Meliadine Lake and Itivia Harbour. The board’s recommendation now goes to federal Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal for a final decision.

In a statement to Nunatsiaq News on Monday, Agnico Eagle spokesperson Natalie Frackleton said the company is “surprised and disappointed” by the news.

“On first reading, it appears that the scientific studies submitted to the NIRB regarding the impacts of the project have not received all the consideration they deserve in several respects,” she said.

“We will take the time to fully review and understand the NIRB’s recommendation report and assess our next steps before making any further comments.”

The review board assessed Agnico Eagle’s proposal through community information tours in the Kivalliq, northern Manitoba and northern Saskatchewan communities, a conference in Rankin Inlet in November 2022, and an eight-day public hearing in Rankin Inlet in September.

The company scrapped the wind farm from the proposal after a public hearing.

Vandal is reviewing the report and its recommendations, said Kyle Allen, a spokesperson from his office, Monday.

The minister has 90 to 180 days to either agree with the board’s reconsideration decision and recommendations, reject or vary the board’s decision.

Share This Story

(14) Comments:

  1. Posted by Nukee on

    “On first reading, it appears that the scientific studies submitted to the NIRB regarding the impacts of the project have not received all the consideration they deserve in several respects”

    Welcome to Nunavut, we don’t believe in science here.

  2. Posted by Welfare Annie on

    Guess we’ll all be going back on welfare and hunting Caribou to sell the meat to make money, What do they sell a whole Caribou for in Spence Bay? $500? if so I’ll getting 1000 a year and have an income of $500,000.00/year, Right on!!
    who needs work in Nunavut, when we have a free supply of caribou, right?
    They just threaten to shut down like they did in Pond to get a few years in there.

  3. Posted by Umingmak on

    The GN: We need jobs!

    Also the GN: Reject projects that create jobs.

    What will happen with all of the people who will be put out of work when production ends in 2032? That’s just 9 years away now.

    • Posted by UpHere on

      NIRB is not the GN.
      NIRB is constitutionally separate.
      Long gun and machine access hunting are decimating the caribou herds.
      The mine doesn’t help.

      • Posted by How it looks from here on

        The mine is inert when it comes to caribou, though a useful scapegoat that detracts from the more serious problems you raised.

    • Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

      That is the nature of mines, they do not last forever and leave a big mess behind when they shut down.

  4. Posted by Sam on

    KIA elections going on should be an election issue, they will be with Meadowbank shutting down, and malidine closing in 9 years, the NTI and KIA coffers will be less and less, and the way sakku is spending money, history repeats itself, remember Nunasai, NTCL, all bankrupt, and Vandal is from Manitoba and he will listen to northern Manitoba chiefs, good by AEM.hello social assistance.

    • Posted by Fighting Mad on

      Inuit fought too long and too hard to earn the right to their own land. Now the Dene from Saskatchewan and Manitoba are going to tell us how to use our land. Over half the participants at the NIRB hearings were from the south. NPC and Government of Canada are paying their bills.

      NTI dropped the ball on this file…Too Baffin-centric? Time for KIA to lawyer up. If they want to make the Kivalliq a park, they should give us an IBA.

      If Dene are going to claim title to any land that a caribou touches so should we. Any public hearing in Saskatchewan or Manitoba we should be there. Stand up and fight. We can’t give up what our forefathers fought so hard for under the Nunavut Agreement.

  5. Posted by WB on

    So Agnico Eagle has 9 years to come up with a more credible plan to.protect caribou. The future of this project is not in jeopardy. All the alarmists in the comments section should really calm down.

    • Posted by John on

      To say they have 9 years is a little naive. Construction was going to be 3 years. That leaves 6 years in which a new plan needs to be developed and new submission to NIRB made. The NIRB process is not a quick one. That makes this a serious blow as shareholders try to consider whether spending all of the money to make a second attempt has any chance of yielding success. This isn’t like shooting free throws in basketball where you just shake it off after a miss and try again. Many years of work and lots of dollars went into this submission. Given this negative NIRB decision and the previous Baffinland negative decision… I am pretty sure investors are thinking twice about whether it is worth trying to permit anything in Nunavut or whether they should look at investing in their other mineral properties in other jurisdictions.

  6. Posted by Colin on

    Every reasonable person is concerned for the environment. But concern that the proposed mine extension would endanger the caribou herd is total BS, garbage and nonsense. It’s to be an underground operation anyway. How many caribou want to go underground? Duh! Besides caribou used to wander freely among the oil derricks on the North slope of Alaska and they wander freely onto the runway at Sonderstrom in Greenland. People should be asking what qualifications (and paycheck) Kaviq Kaluraq has to be grandstanding on this issue.

  7. Posted by Inungmarik on

    Hope they get karma they say they do the reports aem and even up to social workers in nunavut. You guys don’t know what there doing to nunavut-miut. Try ask kia to nirb to get the agreement before they start the mine. See if they are following that.

  8. Posted by Judas Henry on

    “To protect the caribou…”
    Caribou will be an endangered species soon. Climate change is rampant. Caribou are getting more and more parasites.
    Not many, in a little town, go hunting any more.
    “Damn the Torpedoes!!”
    Environment is going fast.
    Open the mines. People want to work.
    Open the mines in

  9. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    The dene and other aboriginal non Inuit were in Rankin at that meeting because they share the same Qamaniqjuaq caribou herd than us, They were rightfully concerned about the caribou which are impacted by the roads the mine is building and were planning to expand. Caribou do not only belong to Inuit…caribou are also very culturally important to them too. The mine( and future expansion) is located in a post calving area and last year the caribou calved much closer. Caribou need to be there for the future for everyone involved.


Comments are closed.