NIRB to Hold Community Information Session in Baker Lake on September 4, 2014

Do you want to know more about the next steps the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) will be taking in its review of AREVA’s proposed Kiggavik Project in Nunavut?

Would you like to know how you can participate in the review process?

The answers to these questions and more will be presented during NIRB’s information session in Baker Lake on September 4, 2014 in the Community Hall at 6:30pm.

 NIRB Community Information Session Sept. 4, 2014 - InuktitutNIRB Community Information Session Sept. 4, 2014 - English

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.

AREVA Completes Tour of Kivalliq Communities

AREVA held its last open house on Nov. 21 in Arviat, wrapping up a successful tour of Kivalliq communities. The open houses allowed residents of these communities to learn more about AREVA’s proposed Kiggavik Project and for the residents to provide feedback to AREVA about possible improvements to the project.

AREVA has proposed developing a uranium mining operation about 80 km west of Baker Lake, Nunavut, which would be the first of its kind in the territory. After submitting a draft environment impact statement in 2012, the project is undergoing an environmental assessment by the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB). AREVA plans to submit a final environmental impact statement in late 2014. 

During the tour, AREVA representatives visited seven Kivalliq communities, starting in Baker Lake. The tour continued with Repulse Bay, Coral Harbour, Chesterfield Inlet, Whale Cove, Rankin Inlet and Arviat.

In many communities, they met with the hamlet councils or a hamlet representative. They met with hunter and trapper organizations in several communities. They also met with local high school students in the communities to discuss potential jobs in the mining sector and the skills required for them and to discuss the Kiggavik Environment Assessment.

At the open houses held in the six communities, more than 250 residents signed in. The open house was postponed in Coral Harbour due to events there.

“We got to talk with many residents about monitoring the potential impacts of the project and ways to mitigate any such impacts if they occur. We’ll incorporate the information obtained into the final environmental impact statement,” said Barry McCallum, Manager of Nunavut Affairs.

“We appreciate the honest feedback we received about the proposed project so we can make it the best it can be. We also appreciate the warm welcome and hospitality in the communities and look forward to our next meetings,” McCallum said.

An article in Nunatsiaq News provides a nice roundup of AREVA’s tour.