AREVA Submits Final Environmental Impact Statement on Kiggavik Project

AREVA Resources Canada has submitted the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for its Kiggavik Project to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB). Located 80 kilometres west of Baker Lake, the Kiggavik Project is a proposed uranium mining and milling operation owned by AREVA (64.8%), JCU (Canada) Exploration Co. Ltd. (33.5%) and DAEWOO Corporation (1.7%) and is operated by AREVA.

The work presented to NIRB reflects more than six years of engineering, environmental and public engagement studies. AREVA has sought community input and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) to refine the project design and environmental assessment. The submission includes detailed studies demonstrating that modern uranium development is safe for workers, the public and the environment.

AREVA’s proposed Kiggavik Project would require three to four years of construction, followed by approximately 14 years of operation based on estimated resources of 130 million pounds of uranium.

“We thank the people of Baker Lake and the Kivalliq Region for openly sharing their concerns and aspirations related to the potential development of the Kiggavik Project, in addition to the local knowledge they provided our team in the course of the studies performed for the final environmental impact statement,” said Vincent Martin, president and CEO of AREVA Resources Canada.

AREVA has a positive track record in Canada spanning more than 50 years ensuring the safety of employees, the public and the environment. The next steps in the Kiggavik environmental assessment include a technical review of the FEIS and public hearings to be held in Baker Lake.

While uranium market conditions do not currently favour a construction decision, completing the environmental assessment would allow the project to move forward with the next steps when the market improves as expected.FEIS Binders DSC_2667

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.

Kiggavik Project Will Follow Strict Guidelines

AREVA is following guidelines set forth by the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) throughout the review of its proposed Kiggavik Project, located 80 km west of Baker Lake, Nunavut. AREVA has developed a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) to demonstrate the soundness of the proposed Kiggavik Project and the ability of the company to implement the project. AREVA plans to submit a final environmental impact statement (FEIS) in late 2014.

Government, community and other stakeholders have commented on the draft document as part of the environmental review carried out by the NIRB. Following a technical review of the FEIS, the NIRB will hold Public Hearings followed by a decision. AREVA is committed to following the process set out by the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

AREVA has been active in Canada for 50 years and during this time has gained significant, relevant experience in the development and operation of successful mining operations while maintaining high standards for health, safety and environmental protection.

Here are some key points about the Kiggavik Project:

  • The Kiggavik Project environmental impact statement reflects five years of recent engineering, environmental and public engagement studies conducted by AREVA, in addition to previous historical work.
  • Community engagement and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) have influenced the project design and the environmental assessment.
  • Detailed studies using comparisons to international standards, demonstrate that modern uranium development is safe for workers and the public.

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.