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.
The Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) has published the dates of public hearings for the Kiggavik Project final environmental impact statement. The technical presentations are planned for March 2-7, 2015 and the community roundtables for Marc 9-15, 2015. The hearings will be held at the Baker Lake Community Center and could extend into the week of March 16-20, if deemed necessary by NIRB. For more information consult the NIRB site.
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.
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.