Vandal agrees to Chidliak mine review, but clarification needed

Nunavut Impact Review Board looking for answer on collaborating its review with water board

Minister of Northern Affairs Daniel Vandal has accepted the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s environmental review of the Chidliak mine. The review board is looking for De Beers Group Canada to answer whether the company expects the review board to co-ordinate its review with the Nunavut Water Board.. (File Photo)

By David Lochead

Updated Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m.

Federal Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal has agreed to an environmental review of the Chidliak diamond mine, according to a letter sent by the minister to the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

However, the Nunavut Impact Review Board is looking for clarification from De Beers Group Canada on whether the company expects the board’s review to be co-ordinated with the Nunavut Water Board, which regulates the use of water in the territory.

The review board asked for this clarification Monday, in a response to Vandal’s acceptance of a review.

The Chidliak diamond mine, being proposed by De Beers Group Canada, is located on the Hall Peninsula about 120 kilometres northeast of Iqaluit.

On Nov. 14, the review board gave its assessment of the proposal for the diamond mine and recommended an environmental review of the project to Vandal, who has the authority to approve the review board’s recommendation.

In his agreement to the review on Feb. 14, Vandal also mentioned he and the other responsible ministers will consider giving funding to the review.

If Vandal decides an environmental review co-ordinated with the water board is necessary, the board has said it needs to know by Feb. 24.

The area De Beers is exploring for the mine is 42,000 hectares and includes 74 kimberlites, which are the rocks that contain diamonds.

The mine would have fewer than 200 personnel on site at any time, De Beers stated. But the company added the actual number will not be established until it identifies the technology needed and the mining process that will be used. The mine will potentially open in 2026, with a closure phase starting in 2045.

To operate the mine, De Beers is proposing new low-carbon methods, such as having a diamond processing plant that is mobile. It is also proposing use of renewable energy such as wind, solar and potentially nuclear energy.

In the screening for the diamond mine, the territorial and federal governments as well as regional organizations such as Qikiqtani Inuit Association voiced concerns over the project.

An issue commonly mentioned was the potential impact the mine could have on the environment and wildlife, especially caribou migration. The availability of local jobs compared to remote jobs, and the possible impact of nuclear energy, were also concerns.

In its response, De Beers environment and permitting manager Sarah McLean thanked the governments and organizations for their comments, adding the company plans to follow up with each group on how to improve the project.

De Beers Group Canada was not available for comment on this story Tuesday.

Correction: This story has been updated from an earlier version to correct the Chidliak Diamond Mine’s location on Hall Peninsula and to correct the number of employees who would potentially work at the mine.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Nuclear Energy on

    Yes, nuclear projects in the Arctic, 120 km away from Iqaluit, should be concerning.
    A road to that site opens up so many questions, too. This needs to be monitored.
    Any disaster isn’t worth the price of shiny jewels.

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    • Posted by Did I Miss Something? on

      I have never seen a road proposed as part of this project so not sure what you are talking about? Can you please share where have seen the road to the site is proposed?

      From what I have seen published they are trying to build a high tech low footprint mine, that would look to utilize workers remotely from Nunavut Communities. As they are not taking large bodies of ore out, there would be no need for a road to the site. But maybe I am reading different information? Please share where you found out about the road!

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      • Posted by Dulcinea on

        They have supplied that site overland in the winter a few times from Iqaluit.

        Also, isn’t that new landfill road suspiciously long and heading in the direction of Chidliak?

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    • Posted by Nothing Burger on

      Why should we be afraid of safe, clean, and renewable energy production?

      They should build it closer and share the power. Might help the ABSURD smog we’ve had this year.

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  2. Posted by anon on

    My bet is this mine will get rubber stamped. After turning down the Mary River expansion, the Liberals are highly unlikely to say “no” to another mining proposal in Nunavut. And if there’s an election and the conservatives get in, they’re highly unlikely to say “no” to any mining proposal, no matter how outlandish, given the ideological underpinnings of that party.

    If the adjacent communities want their concerns to be meaningfully addressed, they’re probably going to have to make a lot of noise.

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    • Posted by boo on

      Yeah right, what your saying is rubbish. Thanks for your fake opinion.

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      • Posted by John K on

        Nice rebuttal.

        Thanks for your substantive contribution to this conversation.

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