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).

Kiggavik Team Visits Northern Manitoba Communities

Members of the Kiggavik Project team visited the northern Manitoba communities of Tadoule Lake and Lac Brochet last week to discuss the proposed project with local leaders and residents. The focus of the visits was to discuss the potential transboundary effects on caribou from the proposed Kiggavik Project.

AREVA representatives held a public meeting on June 25 in Tadoule Lake, and met with local officials. The following day, the Kiggavik team members met with officials in Lac Brochet.

Residents of the communities harvest caribou from the Qamanirjuaq herd, whose range stretches from the Kivalliq region of Nunavut in the north to northern Manitoba, and Northern Saskatchewan in the south and into the Northwest Territories in the west. “Caribou are a major focus of the review of the Kiggavik Project, and we understand the importance of caribou to people of the North, said Barry McCallum, AREVA’s manager of Nunavut affairs. “We are carefully considering ways that the project would interact with the environment and are studying ways to minimize any potential negative effects and increase the positive effects.”

Chesterfield Inlet Hunters and Trappers Organization Holds Meeting

On February 25, AREVA scientists and a consultant from Nunami Stantec met with the Chesterfield Inlet Hunters and Trappers Organization (HTO) to discuss the Environment Impact Statement that AREVA is developing for the Kiggavik Project.  The Final Environmental Impact Statement, which AREVA plans to submit to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) later this year, will include scientific information as well as information provided by people familiar with the land. 

The scientists and HTO members reviewed the maps that contained the baseline data from the surveys conducted plus the information provided by hunters and elders during IQ interviews.  As a result of the meeting, some additions were made to the maps.  The group also discussed potential impacts on marine mammals from the shipping of materials to the mine site and emergency response measures.  AREVA has met with the Chesterfield Inlet HTO about once a year since 2007 and will continue exchange information with the HTO going forward.

AREVA continues community engagement in Coral Harbour and Baker Lake this week

A small group of AREVA representatives was in Coral Harbour on January 21, 2014 as part of the Kivalliq communities open house tour started in November 2013 with stops in each of the region’s communities.

While in Coral Harbour yesterday, we met with the Mayor and Council and visited three high school classes. We also had the opportunity to meet with the local Hunters and Trappers Organization (HTO) representatives. In the evening we hosted our public open house. At every meeting and during the open house we provided an update on our plans for the Kiggavik project and the environmental assessment process. We were able to answer questions and also gather some feedback from all the people we met. We plan to report on all our 2013/2014 and prior community engagement efforts in the Final Environmental Impact Statement we will release this fall.

We thank Coral Harbour’s Mayor and Council, high school principal, teachers and students, the HTO and all the residents who attended our open house.

Next stop in our Nunavut travels this week – if the weather holds up – is Baker Lake for a meeting with the Hamlet Council.

Transportation for the Kiggavik Project

All mining projects require the transportation of materials to the site and the final product to market. With limited transportation infrastructure in Nunavut, we carefully considered logistics in the design and operation of the proposed Kiggavik Project.

According to AREVA’s proposal for the Kiggavik Project, supplies would arrive by ship and barge at a dock and storage area at Baker Lake, then transported approximately 80 km west on a winter access road to the project site. AREVA is considering an all-season road as a second option between Baker Lake and the Kiggavik Project, in case the winter road is not sufficient.

The uranium product produced at Kiggavik would be packaged and transported by aircraft to southern transportation routes. An airstrip would be built at the Kiggavik site for transport of workers and materials. Workers would be flown to the site from Kivalliq communities and other locations. 

AREVA identified these transportation alternatives in the project proposal submitted to regulators in 2008 and potential impacts were assessed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) submitted to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) in late 2011 . Read the DEIS executive summary here and the Project Description (Volume 2) here.

AREVA also evaluated in the DEIS (Volume 10) potential accidents and malfunctions related to the proposed activities, including risks related to transportation.  

Today uranium concentrate is transported by road and rail networks in Canada. Transportation of uranium by air was a common practice when mining in Northern Saskatchewan did not connect reliably with the road network.  Aircraft transported uranium concentrate from Uranium City when the Beaverlodge site operated from 1952 until 1982.  

Air transport of radioactive materials in Canada is regulated by Transport Canada’s Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, and Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) Packaging and Transport of Nuclear Substances Regulations. Both regulators have provided technical expertise to NIRB during the review of the Kiggavik DEIS.

Companies shipping uranium concentrate must file an Emergency Response Assistance Plan (ERAP), which is reviewed and approved by Transport Canada. The plans specify emergency response responsibilities, recovery procedures, and available resources. Companies regularly perform exercises of the ERAP to test its effectiveness. AREVA will develop the ERAP for the Kiggavik Project in consultation with Transport Canada, the CNSC, local communities, and other concerned parties.

AREVA has been shipping material safely to and from its mining operations in northern Saskatchewan for decades. The uranium industry has recorded a strong track record of reliable transportation even in challenging environments.