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.

 

Exploration Field Program Underway at Kiggavik

1307-BB-3915This year, the Kiggavik exploration camp opened on June 11, 2015 and plans are set to close by the end of August. This year the camp is supported by ten (10) Baker Lake seasonal staff, several of them are returning staff from previous seasonal work with AREVA. Once again many local, northern businesses are providing goods and services. The total value of AREVA’s goods and services spending with Kivalliq and Nunavut contractors is tracked and reported in AREVA’s Kiggavik Project Field Program Annual Report. Previous reports are available on this Kiggavik Project website HERE or on the Nunavut Impact Review Board site HERE. We will post this year’s field program report on this blog once it is finalized later in the year.

Since the start of this summer field season, the exploration crew has drilled 4,990 m  (as of July, 25, 2015) and is expecting to reach a total of 8,400 m drilled for the 2015 season. Drilling is the creation of “core”, a cylindrical sample of bedrock that is about 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter. The length of the core sample varies with most holes at Kiggavik drilled to a depth of  about 300 m (1,000 feet). The core is placed in wooden boxes and stored at the Kiggavik site where geologists study them to evaluate the possibility of finding a new deposit or the shape, grade, and other aspects of potential and known deposits. Select pieces of core are also commonly sent to AREVA’s Saskatoon, Saskatchewan exploration office for further study including chemical analysis. 1307-BB-3828

With the short, seasonal summer programs at Kiggavik, our researchers cannot do all the work they want or plan to do on the cores so this year AREVA plans to send whole cores (not pieces) from two holes drilled within the Kiggavik deposits to Saskatoon and then to our mine site at McClean Lake in northern Saskatchewan. This will allow us to do further, year-round research on the Kiggavik core/deposits at the McClean Lake site.  Similar to previous transport of core pieces, the planned transport of whole core will follow the relevant federal, territorial, and provincial rules and regulations for the transportation of these samples. The whole core will be transported south in core boxes inside a small, certified sea container and the core piece samples will be transported in small certified pails.

1307-BB-3356It takes many exploration field programs to determine the full extent of a deposit, for example exploration work was first carried out at Kiggavik in the late 1970’s, then in the late 1980’s and then again between 1993 and 1997 by a previous company. After a nine year exploration suspension, AREVA resumed annual field programs at Kiggavik in the spring of 2007 and has had drilling programs in the area ever since. You can learn more about the Kiggavik Project history here (Final Environmental Impact Statement Tier 1 Volume 1 Part 1 Section 1.4).

Great Nunavut Day Celebrations in Baker Lake

Happy Nunavut Day!

Happy Nunavut Day!

Yesterday, our Manager Nunavut Affairs, Barry, was happy to attend some of the Nunavut Day celebrations in Baker Lake. He particularly enjoyed watching the Inuit games and spending time witht Mayor Joedee Joedee, MLA Simeon Mikkungwak and some of the Elders. Once again, as we have for many years, AREVA was happy to sponsor some of the entertainment and attend the celebrations. Many thanks to the residents of Baker Lake for a great Nunavut Day!

AREVA Expresses Disagreement with the NIRB Recommendation

On May 8, 2015 the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) issued a recommendation that the proposed Kiggavik project not be approved at this time. NIRB clarified that the intention was not for the project to not proceed at any time but suggested the proposal be resubmitted at a future date when the project’s start date is more certain. The NIRB recommendation is before the federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development for a decision to accept, reject, or return the report to the NIRB for more consideration.

AREVA disagrees with the NIRB recommendation to not provide an environmental assessment (EA) approval for the Kiggavik project at this time. As supported by the Final Environmental Assessment Statement and submissions of federal authorities at the NIRB Final hearing, there are no significant unresolvable environmental issues in the proposed Kiggavik project.

Obtaining EA approval for projects in advance of a certain development date enables companies to capitalize on favorable market conditions when they exist. Having the EA approval in hand shortens the post-EA regulatory process to licensing and allows a project to proceed to development and operation in a more timely fashion. If the Minister rejects the recommendation and approval is received, the Kiggavik project will be more likely to receive approval from shareholders to proceed to development when market conditions are favorable.

The EA for the Kiggavik project took place over eight years and included intensive engagement, IQ workshops and integration, technical studies, and review by responsible authorities and many interested parties. AREVA has followed the process outlined in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) and continues to do so. AREVA respects Nunavummiut, the NLCA, and the authority of the NIRB. We have generally found all participants in the review to be highly professional and competent and believe it is responsible for us to publically raise our concerns for consideration in the final decision.

Ultimately, we are not the decision-makers but we are asserting that the environmental assessment for the Kiggavik project is sound and the approval should therefore be provided. Being a welcomed and productive part of the region is important to AREVA and these values do not change when we express disagreement with a regulatory process, recommendation, or decision.

AREVA Closing Statement at the Kiggavik Final Hearing

The Nunavut Impact Review Board-led final hearing for the proposed Kiggavik Project ended on Saturday, March 14, 2015. After over six years of public and regulatory review and a 12-day final public hearing, the proceedings concluded with final closing statements (Transcript Volume 11 March 14, 2015) by Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Kivalliq Inuit Association, Government of Nunavut, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Transport Canada, Hamlet of Baker Lake, Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization, Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board, Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit, Paula Kigjugalik Hughson, AREVA Resources Canada, Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) Panel and Board Staff. The final comments by community members are found in Transcript Volume 10 starting on page 2242.

On Thursday April 24, the NIRB communicated the final hearing report for its review of the proposed Kiggavik Project would be issued by Friday May 8, 2015.

The attached text is AREVA Resources Canada’s closing statements available HERE on NIRB’s transcripts site and starting on page 2375.

Attachment: Final Hearing Spoken AREVA Closing Statement