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.


Kiggavik Team Committed to Wildlife Protection

Drill Rig at KiggavikAs AREVA’s Kiggavik team gets ready to wrap up 2014 and prepares for the next steps of the environmental assessment process, we thought this would be a good time to reaffirm and demonstrate our commitment to wildlife protection. Indeed AREVA is committed to wildlife monitoring and mitigation and transparent reporting. We have a Wildlife Monitoring and Mitigation Plan in effect during the operation of the exploration camp each season, and you can read our summer field season wildlife reports here.

The Kiggavik team has implemented many measures to ensure wildlife protection, for example, at the Kiggavik exploration camp, wildlife have the right of way and operations accommodate wildlife. This means that we suspend drilling operations if groups of caribou approach the drill rigs within 2 km in June or July, and we shutdown drilling if cows and calves are within 10km of the site from May 15 to July 15. Further, the helicopters we use have altitude restrictions to avoid disturbing caribou and we keep logs of each flight including records of wildlife sightings.

We also hire wildlife monitors from Baker Lake to ensure that we comply with the Kiggavik wildlife monitoring and mitigation plan and they also participate in the decision process to shut down and resume operations. In 2013, we shutdown drilling operations at a couple of drill rigs over three days in July and once in August, while in 2014, we shutdown up to three drill rigs over six days in July. Finally, we record any wildlife sighting and disturbance to the government regulators and the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization through our monthly wildlife reports during the summer camp operations and in our annual reports.

Our commitment to wildlife protection is unweathering and we look forward to continue to improve and deliver on our wildlife monitoring and mitigation plan in 2015.