Western Nunavut Inuit org wants NTI to help support infrastructure projects

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. is “sitting on millions of dollars,” says Kitikmeot Inuit Association president Stanley Anablak

Kitikmeot Inuit Association president Stanley Anablak told his organization’s annual general meeting in Cambridge Bay that Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. should become an investor in Inuit-led infrastructure projects. (Photo by Jane George)

By Jane George

CAMBRIDGE BAY—Comparing the realization of the Grays Bay Port and Road to winning the Stanley Cup, Kitikmeot Inuit Association president Stanley Anablak said he wants Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. to turn its $7.25-million loan to the KIA into a grant to help turn the $525-million project into reality.

NTI is “sitting on millions of dollars,” Anablak said today in his president’s report to the KIA’s annual general meeting, which focused mainly on Grays Bay.

“There is an important role for NTI to become a champion and investor of Inuit-led infrastructure projects.” he said.

The Grays Bay project would involve the construction of a 227-kilometre all-weather road running from the northern end of the Tibbit-Contwoyto winter road near the Northwest Territories border to a deep-sea port at Grays Bay on Coronation Gulf.

“NTI is well-positioned to contribute funds that could leverage much larger amounts of infrastructure dollars from government and private industry. We should put these funds to work,” Anablak said.

That’s why Anablak said he wants to see the NTI loan to be converted into a grant.

“Because I like to practice what I preach, I also intend to support similar requests from other regional Inuit associations for their projects, when they can provide similar benefit to Nunavut Inuit,” he said.

Anablak said he plans to raise this at the NTI annual meeting in Rankin Inlet later this month.

Grays Bay received a $21.6-million boost from Ottawa this past August, breathing new life into the project.

“As a hockey fan I like to think that with this important first step we have made the playoffs and are well positioned to get past the first round. However our ultimate goal is to see this road and port constructed and move into operation. This would be our Stanley Cup,” Anablak said.

Benefits that would flow from Grays Bay include improved community resupply, marine safety, Arctic sovereignty, regional economic development and access to international markets, he said.

The Kitikmeot region would never have to endure the kind of situation that arose last October when the Marine Transportation Services barge failed to arrive in Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay with its cargo.

“Having our own deep-sea port connected to the south by an all-season road will help prevent such an event from happening again,” Anablak said.

Grays Bay will support exploration and mine development, he said, along with the vision of having a trade and transportation corridor that stretches from Yellowknife to the Arctic Coast.

“Given that over two days in August the federal government made a combined investment of over $50 million in this corridor, I believe they are taking this vision very seriously,” he said.

Along with that corridor, Anablak said he would like to see development of the Izok corridor zinc-lead mining project promoted by Chinese-owned MMG Resources Inc., which has been mothballed since 2013.

The Grays Bay project would be “shovel ready” in two-and-a-half to three years, Anablak said, backed by “an innovative environmental assessment process” based on Inuit traditional knowledge and complex engineering studies.

“I have made this project a key objective for KIA,” he said.

This past summer Anablak attended the opening of Agnico Eagle Mining Corp.’s Meliadine gold mine near Rankin Inlet.

“Inuit are participating meaningfully in the economy and are starting to make inroads into the higher-paying job categories,” he said.

“People in that region are building their own homes, having nice vacations and eating well. In short they are achieving a middle-class life that Canadians in other parts of the world would recognize. I want to see the same happen in our Kitikmeot communities.”

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by board of deflectors on

    I’m sure Stanley and the other board members would know what NTI’s financial situation is, but we have to take his word for it because NTI ISNT FINANCIALLY TRANSPARENT.

    This should go well. I’m sure Inuit will be thrilled if NTI emptied its coffers to build a mining road for the Chinese.

  2. Posted by timebomb on

    Anyone actually paying attention to Canada’s foreign policy knows that this project is a scandal waiting to happen. Our frosty relationship with China makes the optics of this project look really bad and could easily be turned into a political scandal.

    • Posted by Rutabeggar on

      Since its discovery in the 1970s Izok Lake has been held by a series of companies, most of them Canadian. Who can say that ownership of the project couldn’t revert to a Canadian company in the future? The project is located in Canada and its development will be beneficial to the Canadians employed to work there. Governments and Inuit Organizations will also generate significant revenues from its development from income tax, corporate tax and royalties. Even if MMG stays around to develop Izok, Canada isn’t Burkino Faso or Sri Lanka. The Chinese do not simply walk into a G7 country and start calling the shots. Anyways, this is all academic until the infrastructure bottleneck is addressed. Both the KIA and the Government of the Northwest Territories recognize this and are thankfully gearing up to address it finally.

    • Posted by Putuguk on

      I am sitting in a chair Made in China. My laptop was assembled in China. My desk is Chinese. I guess I should self report myself to CSIS now.

      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        Have you ever asked yourself why it is that China can produce these goods cheaper than we can ourselves? In most cases the raw materials do not originate in China, or where do you think the Mary’s River iron ore is shipped? How does this relate to our global climate or have you not seen the videos of smog in many Chinese cities with most people wearing face masks just in order to filter out some of the air pollution?
        Are you unaware that China is still building coal fired power plants while most of the rest of the world (except idiot supporters of Trump) are decommissioning coal fired power plants?
        China is a one party state, with a President for Life. Remind you of any other countries? North Korea, Zimbabwe, and countless others from time to time in Africa, South America, Russia.
        China is not our friend, just ask the Innocent Canadians that get arrested every time there is a diplomatic spat. Same goes to our farmers and livestock producers who’s products suddenly “fail” Chinese inspection.
        China is not our friend and I no longer think that we should invite them in to remove our non renewable resources at a fraction of their worth.

  3. Posted by Ray Donovan on

    Ya, thats enough money to print the road map.

  4. Posted by Suva on

    It’s about time NTI start helping Inuit in terms of capital dollars for housing and roads. Just being a moral support in words to Nunavut Government isn’t getting any where with families being in crowded housing all over.
    I’m sick of NTI the way it is … as a beneficiary

  5. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Grays Bay barely makes financial sense for the mines operating along the corridor it makes little to no sense from a benefits perspective if the GNWT isn’t prepared to make the Tibbet-Contwoyto Ice road an all-weather road. Everyone knows that the ice roads are on their last legs, either from climate change or the lack of mining activity at the end of them (both Ekati and Diavik are currently in their last throes and will soon close). With nothing connecting Grays Bay to the rest of the transportation network, it becomes a privately owned and operated road that will provide no benefit to Nunavummiut in the Kitikmoet (beyond the KIA which will scoop all of the lucrative mine contracts as well as the road maintenance and snow management contracts). If the market value of base metals plunge too far these mines will shut down and Nunavut and Canada will be stuck with a massive white elephant. No more public money for Grays Bay … period!

  6. Posted by OMG is he on a brain freeze! on

    Less then a year ago these guys lost 300, 000.00 plus dollars of Inuit money into thin air and there was never an explanation of what steps they put in place to prevent further theft of Inuit and public dollars.

    This is just unreal, asking for more hard earned dollars to blown away on what should be financed by the mining sector.

    • Posted by Jeff on

      I agree with u 100%. What happened to the $300k? KC (KIA) also owns Kitnuna & have run that co. into the ground. None of the folks (ever) at the helm of KIA or KC has owned or operated a business… sorry but no loan should be turned into a grant & NTI shdn’t feel compelled to do anything for this pie-in-the-sky fiscally irresponsible KIA org in the Kitikmeot.

      • Posted by Rutabeggar on

        Pie in the sky? KIA’s Grays Bay project is part of a arctic corridor that both the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories have endorsed as credible by putting millions of dollars behind it. The Government of Nunavut, to its shame, has failed to support this corridor, even though it makes clearly makes sense to Canada and the NWT. NTI has the opportunity and the obligation to fill the gap that the GN’a dereliction of duty has left.

  7. Posted by annonymous on

    Tax payers money down the drain, what about our future generations to come when it comes to hunting for traditional food? Wish I had know that this road had gone ahead in to development, too late now to put a stop to it. I agree with Northern Guy on the ice road going on it’s last leg. People get into a position, most get ignorant or act ‘high & mighty’ and never mind others who don’t hold high paying jobs like them.

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