Did you know that uranium mines have had 100% compliance with the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations from 2007 to 2011 and out-performed base metal, precious metal, and iron mines? See Table 2-5 below.
The above table and a full discussion on the performance of uranium mines and how this performance compares to other types of mining is available as Exhibit #53 provided during the Kiggavik Project environmental assessment final hearing. Exhibit #53 – the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Staff Report in the Performance of Uranium Fuel Cycle and Processing Facilities: 2012 (April 2014) is available HERE.
A number of parties raised concerns related to the difference or gap between actual risk and perceived risk with a uranium mining operation during the Kiggavik Project final hearing in March 2015. There was for example a conversation between the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) in which they referenced the concept and examples of comfort or community monitoring (final hearing transcript pages 1054-57) that, despite some similarities, has a different intention from project effects monitoring as outlined in the Kiggavik Project final environmental impact statement.
We refer to project monitoring when effects can reasonably be expected to be measurable. Project monitoring happens for the most part near the operations because they are meant to record the performance of the operations and their anticipated limited extent of environmental effects. These monitoring programs, including their design, location, frequency, etc., are focused on confirming that predictions made before operations start are accurate, ensuring effects are well known and continue to be acceptable. They also inform needed improvements (adaptive management) and opportunities for improvement (continual improvement).
If the air and water quality are measured and acceptable as they leave the facility and are measured outward until they become either negligible or undetectable there is a high-level of confidence the larger landscape remains healthy and available for use and harvest without restriction. However, not everyone feels comfortable and confident that if changes are not occurring nearby operations they may not be occurring near their community or popular land use locations. In Saskatchewan the government and mine proponents set up community monitoring. This monitoring takes place in locations that are not selected based on possible operational effects but rather they are selected based on community land use. Sampling and monitoring is conducted in these locations to provide greater assurance and comfort to residents that the environment and country food remains safe. The sampling for these community monitoring programs is done by trained local residents, while testing and reporting is performed by independent environmental consultants.
AREVA has worked with others throughout the Kiggavik environmental review to close the gap between actual and perceived risks by:
- transparently presenting and communicating the actual risks with associated design and procedures to manage them,
- organizing uranium and radiation 101 workshops,
- offering exploration camps and mine site tours,
- contributing to the development of new Inuktitut terminology, and
- increasing understanding of uranium exploration and mining through other means such as open houses, public meetings and postings on the Kiggavik Project blog.
Further, AREVA provided a framework for the development of a future community monitoring program in the final environmental impact statement (described in Tier 3 Appendices 1F – Social and Ecological Context and 3C – Community Involvement Plan) and committed to support the continued work of the Inuit Language Authority so that future Inuit workers can clearly communicate their activities at the workplace to family and community members with Inuktitut words and concepts.
These are some of the examples of AREVA’s continued efforts to address and mitigate actual and perceived risks.
Due to the inclement weather in Baker Lake over the week-end, many of the parties expected to participate participate in the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) Final Hearing on AREVA’s proposed Kiggavik Project were unable to arrive in Baker Lake in time for the start of the hearing today. NIRB has now postponed the commencement of the Final Hearing until tomorrow, Tuesday, March 3 at 1:00pm.
Like many others, AREVA’s representatives were unable to make it to Baker Lake yesterday as planned but did fly in safely this afternoon and will be ready to present the findings of our Kiggavik Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) over the next two weeks, starting tomorrow afternoon with the overview and the presentation on the atmospheric environment.
You can view the full Final Hearing agenda prepared by NIRB here.
AREVA’s team looks forward to presenting its proposed Kiggavik Project FEIS and answering NIRB and the intervenors questions through this process.
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.
AREVA is hosting a series of open houses Nov. 13-21 in seven Kivalliq communities focusing on its proposed Kiggavik Project. Residents from the communities are encouraged to stop by to learn more about the Kiggavik Project and pose questions or offer comments to the AREVA team members there.
More than 100 residents attended the first two days of the open house in Baker Lake, NU, the closest community to the proposed project. The Kiggavik Project is located 80 km west of Baker Lake. On Nov. 15, AREVA held an open house at Repulse Bay, near the Arctic Circle, which was attended by some 25 local residents. The tour concludes at Arviat on Nov. 21.
In each community, AREVA representatives are available to meet with people interested in finding our more about the Kiggavik Project. Residents can also ask questions about AREVA’s draft environmental impact statement on the Kiggavik Project, which was submitted to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) in 2012. Earlier this year, AREVA provided responses to more than 400 technical comments from various organizations about the project.
One key goal of the open houses is to receive feedback from residents on how to improve the project especially regarding how the project would monitor potential environmental effects and how it would mitigate any potential effects. This feedback may be incorporated in the final environmental impact statement, which the company expects to submit to NIRB late next year.
In addition, AREVA staffers meet with local high school students to discuss potential careers in the uranium mining sector. They also fielded many questions about uranium mining, nuclear energy and other energy sources from students and teachers.
For more information about the Kiggavik Project, please visit: www.kiggavik.ca.