Kiggavik Project: A Quick Update

It has been a while since we last provided an update on the Kiggavik Project, so here is a short recap of what we’ve been up to this summer and fall.

Summer Exploration Program

This year we opened the Kiggavik exploration camp on June 11 and closed it on August 28, 2015 after drilling over 7,300m. We focused our efforts on better defining the deposits and trying to possibly discover new ones in the area. Now that the summer field season is over, we are working on analyzing the data and reviewing the drill cores to help us define potential future exploration programs in the area.

Wildlife Monitoring Report

As in previous years, for the duration of our summer exploration program, we monitored wildlife near the Kiggavik exploration camp and drilling sites. We employed Wildlife Monitors from Baker Lake, whose responsibilities were to notify our geologists and health, safety and environmental protection supervisor when caribou herds were approaching and also record sightings of the various wildlife species in the area. You can read the latest August 2015 Wildlife Report here. You can see all the Wildlife Reports published to date here (scroll down to the section Wildlife Reports). These reports provide data and location maps on the wildlife observed near Kiggavik.

Community Liaison Committee Meeting

On July 8, 2015 we held the second Kiggavik Community Liaison Committee (CLC) meeting of this year. At this meeting, the community representatives in attendance approved the minutes of the previous Kiggavik CLM meeting of February 27, 2015. You can read the February meeting minutes in English here and in Inuktitut here.

This July AREVA’s representatives, Barry McCallum, Manager Nunavut Affairs and Nathan Drake, Geo-environmental Engineer, provided an update on the NIRB recommendation to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and AREVA’s letter to the Minister expressing our views on the matter. Nathan gave a thorough update on the operation of the Kiggavik exploration camp and highlighted that several local people were working at the Kiggavik camp this summer as camp operators, kitchen staff, wildlife monitors and driller helpers. He also discussed the June Wildlife Report, which indicated that caribou, grizzly bear and wolf were observed along with many other types of birds and animals, however it hadn’t been necessary then to suspend drilling operations as they were far enough from our activities. Finally, Barry provided the members of the CLC with copies of AREVA’s Homeland Visits photo-book, which depicts the 27 homeland visits offered by AREVA to community members between 2006 and 2013. You can view the Homeland Visits Book here. We will make the July 2015 CLC meeting minutes available on this blog once they are approved by the CLC at their next meeting.


AREVA Hosts Third Community Liaison Committe Meeting of the Year in Baker Lake

CLC Meeting - July 2013On August 12 the Kiggavik Project Community Liaison Committee held its third meeting of the year in Baker Lake. There were 7 representatives of community organizations such as the trappers and hunters, elders and education in attendance along with two AREVA employees. The meeting started with the formal approval of the June 23, 2014 meeting minutes, which are available in English and Inuktitut. The meeting continued with a discussion on the status of the Kiggavik exploration field season. Barry McCallum, Manager Nunavut Affairs reported that the exploration season would likely be completed in early September this year. He also noted that the Kiggavik Project team was making progress on the preparation of the Final Environmental Impact Statement and expected to be able to submit it to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) in late September. During the meeting the group took some time to review the monthly Kiggavik Wildlife Reports for June and July 2014. Finally the attendees mentioned the upcoming NIRB information sessions scheduled in Baker Lake on September 4. The minutes of this meeting will be made public once they are approved at the next meeting, likely in the fall.

Latest CLC Meeting Held Followed by Fishery Workshop

AREVA Resources Canada held its latest Community Liaison Committee (CLC) meeting in Baker Lake on June 23.  In addition to regular updates on the project, the group discussed topics for inclusion in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for its proposed Kiggavik Project.

The FEIS includes more than five years of recent engineering, environmental and public engagement studies conducted by AREVA, in addition to previous historical work. AREVA plans to submit this to the Nunavut Impact Review Board by the end of September.

The first motion of the meeting was to approve the minutes of the last meeting which are available in Inuktitut and English in the Resources section here. Kiggavik Site Supervisor Dan Zunti gave an update on the exploration camp which started operating in early June.

Then Barry McCallum, Manager of Nunavut affairs, asked committee members for their feedback on topics for the FEIS. The group discussed places where fish cannot pass or are trapped, places where river banks have eroded, and places where garbage and debris are in streams. These fishery topics were also discussed in a discussion group early in the afternoon. The fishery input provides ideas that could become part of a fisheries offset plan closer to development. Barry asked the committee about the waterways that people use in the Baker Lake region. They also discussed the definition and use of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ).

Community Liason Committee Has First Meeting of the Year

On Feb. 20, the Community Liaison Committee held it’s first meeting of the year. David Simailak was introduced as a new member appointed by the District Education Authority replacing Casey Tulurialik.  Long-time member Martha Nukik resigned as a member. David Simailak was elected Chair, and Thomas Anirniq was elected Vice Chair. 

Discussions included reporting on the tour of Kivalliq communities AREVA carried out in November of 2013 and January 2014, the tour of mining operations in Saskatchewan in December 2013, and AREVA’s participation in the Kivalliq Mine Training Society Committee.  Committee members discussed the upcoming overland haul to bring supplies to the Kiggavik exploration site about 80 km west of Baker Lake. 

Participants also discussed and coming meetings with the Chesterfield Inlet and Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organizations to gather input for the Final Environmental Impact Statement scheduled, which AREVA expects to submit to the regulator in September 2014.  The Minutes of the October 23, 2013 meeting were approved and can now be found on the Kiggavik Blog here.

Kivalliq Residents Tour AREVA’s McClean Lake Operation in Northern Saskatchewan

One of the best ways to learn about uranium mining is to visit a mine.  On Dec 3 and 4, AREVA’s McClean Lake Site hosted a group of 21 Kivalliq residents for a tour of its uranium mill and facilities.  Representatives from the seven Kivalliq communities participated.  The group included four representatives of the Kiggavik Community Liaison Committee in Baker Lake, a teacher and two students from Jonah Amitna’aq High School in Baker Lake, three representatives from the Kivalliq Inuit Association, representatives from six Hunters and Trappers Organizations and four from Hamlet Councils.  

The group toured the former mining areas in the process of being reclaimed and the mill currently being modified to process high-grade ore from Cigar Lake mine scheduled to start production in early 2014.  The visit included an overnight stay at the McClean Lake camp, which allowed many to participate in the recreational activities offered and interact with AREVA’s employees in a less formal environment after a full day discussing the technical aspects of a uranium milling operation. 

 We thank all the participants to this visit and look forward to hosting many more Kivalliq residents in the future.

21 Kivalliq Residents spent Dec 3-4, 2013 at AREVA's McClean Lake operation in Northern Saskatchewan.

21 Kivalliq Residents spent Dec 3-4, 2013 at AREVA’s McClean Lake operation in Northern Saskatchewan.

21 Kivalliq residents tour AREVA's McClean Lake mill in Northern Saskatchewan on Dec 3-4, 2013

21 Kivalliq residents tour AREVA’s McClean Lake mill in Northern Saskatchewan on Dec 3-4, 2013