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).

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

Kiggavik Project Final Hearing by the Numbers

Kiggavik Project Public Hearing - March 2015

  • 1  final public hearing organized by the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) from March 2 to 14, 2015
  • 1 hearing days lost to blizzard conditions and the inability of the interveners to travel to Baker Lake, Nunavut
  • 6 ½ years to advance the proposed Kiggavik Project from an initial project proposal (November 2008) to a final hearing (March 2015)
  • 7 communities in the Kivalliq Region, all of which were represented at the hearing
  • 11 full days of final hearing, transcripts available HERE
  • 12 hours daily average length of the hearing, 9AM to 9PM
  • 16 interveners including representatives from municipal governments, territorial and federal government agencies, aboriginal and non-governmental organizations from Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan
  • 45 days expected for the NIRB to make a recommendation, the recommendation will be publically available on the NIRB FTP site HERE
  • 80  exhibits submitted as evidence during the hearing, exhibits are available HERE
  • 443 stakeholder and engagement events leading up to the final environmental impact statement and final hearing that informed issues, concerns, preferences, design, proposed mitigation and monitoring, and acceptability of the proposed Kiggavik Project
  • 2,140 people living in Baker Lake, the nearest community to the proposed Project (~80km away) and the host community for the hearings

Kiggavik Project Final Hearing Start Delayed Until March 3, 2015 at 1:00pm

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.