The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs has issued a final decision to accept the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s recommendation to not approve the proposed Kiggavik Project at this time.
AREVA is very disappointed with this outcome. AREVA and its partners in this project spent over eight years and tens of millions of dollars on the environmental assessment process. The Kiggavik Project, demonstrated through the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) review, had no unresolvable issues and would provide positive, long-term benefits to the Kivalliq Region. Having start date uncertainty is not unique to this project and it occurs quite frequently in Canada given the timeline for approvals and constantly changing market conditions.
The Minister’s Decision itself makes note that uncertainty of start date is a common situation for proposed developments in the north and that provisions in the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act and/or terms and conditions to a Project Certificate that accommodate uncertainty can largely address this issue. These provisions were discussed at length throughout the process and during the NIRB final hearing and we are obviously disappointed that they were not applied to the Project. As stated throughout the regulatory review process, AREVA was fully prepared to re-evaluate and confirm the accuracy of our predictions should there have been a significant delay in project start date and to evaluate performance against predictions throughout operations.
AREVA is fully aware that in order to have a successful development we require regulatory approvals, community engagement and support, and favorable economic conditions. At the end of this nearly eight year process, the question remains whether the Project, as designed, could meet the requirements for development in Nunavut at this time. Further, the decision by the authorities to not apply available remedies to take into consideration an uncertain project start date influences the company’s investment risk and future project advancement.
AREVA recently concluded our summer field season in Nunavut. There was no drilling, geophysics, prospecting, or geological mapping in 2016. A crew spent 10 days at the site transitioning and securing the exploration camp for care and maintenance. Given the decision on the project and the market conditions, there are no immediate plans to resume exploration activities.
We will take some time to decide our next steps and will discuss with our partners in this project in the coming months. AREVA continues to believe the Kiggavik Project is sound and can offer many benefits to Nunavut without compromising the environment.