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.


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.

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.

Thank you for submitting your comments

AREVA's Baker Lake Office, NUThe Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) received and forwarded a total of 239 comments listed in the final written submissions of 15 interveners on Friday January 16, 2015. The Kiggavik Project team is currently reviewing and preparing responses for submission to the NIRB by February 2 in advance of the Final Hearing that is scheduled to take place from March 2 to 14, 2015 (with a possible extension to March 21) in Baker Lake, NU.


The repartition of the origin of the comments received is as follows:

  • Federal government: 99 items
  • Territorial government: 44 items
  • Regional Inuit Organization: 58 items
  • Other registered interveners: 38 items

The comments and concerns raised span across all aspects of the assessment with the top three areas of interest continuing to be:

  • Caribou protection,
  • Socio-economic aspects, with a focus on benefits and,
  • Project description, with a focus on management plans and the potential access road.

Over the past 10 days, the Kiggavik team has been touring the North to discuss the FEIS with the following organizations:

  • The Lutsel K’e First Nation Wildlife Committee in the Northwest Territories – The Lutsel K’e First Nation (LKFN) have been participants in the Kiggavik Project environmental assessment process since 2009. Much of the discussion with the Wildlife Committee pertained to the assessment of potential effects on caribou as presented in Volume 6 of the Final Environmental Impact Statement. AREVA’s team also held an informal meeting open to community members and members of the LKFN council.
  • The Baker Lake Hamlet Council – AREVA’s team had an opportunity to present to the newly elected council. Baker Lake is the closest community to the Kiggavik site (about 80km). AREVA has maintained an office and staff members in Baker Lake since 2006. The discussion with council focused on potential local benefits from the proposed development of the Kiggavik Project.
  • The Arviat Hunters and Trappers Organization (HTO) – The Arviat HTO members are concerned with potential effects from dust and marine transportation, so the discussion focused on the atmospheric assessment, available in Volume 4, and the marine assessment, in Volume 7.
  • The Chesterfield Inlet HTO and Hamlet Council – Chesterfield Inlet representatives are generally concerned with the potential effects of shipping on marine mammals, so the discussion focused on the marine assessment provided in Volume 7. They also wanted to know how their input on land and marine life will be incorporated into the project to minimize any effects.

 In early February, the Northern Project Management Office and Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s staff will host community meetings to discuss the FEIS with community representatives in Rankin Inlet (Feb. 3), Baker Lake (Feb. 4) and Chesterfield Inlet (Feb. 5). In the meantime, the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) will hold information sessions from January 27 to February 3, 2015, throughout the Kivalliq Region to promote public awareness and effective participation at the upcoming Final Hearing in Baker Lake. The Schedule of the NIRB information sessions is as follows:

Jan 27 – Chesterfield Inlet

Jan 28 – Repulse Bay

Jan 29 – Coral Harbour

Jan 30 – Rankin Inlet

Jan 31 – Arviat

Feb 2 – Whale Cove

Feb 3 – Baker Lake

To view AREVA’s full submission you can scroll through the Resources tab down to Final Environmental Impact Statement where each volume is listed separately.

 We are working to answer all the comments submitted on schedule and look forward to answering questions at the Final Hearing in Baker Lake at the beginning of March.

AREVA Submits Final Environmental Impact Statement on Kiggavik Project

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.FEIS Binders DSC_2667