Environmental Monitoring to Ensure Continued Safety and Health of Country Food

1307-BB-4668A 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.

Winter Haul to AREVA’s Kiggavik Project Site is Complete

2014 Winter Haul (3)The winter haul in preparation for AREVA’s 2014 summer field exploration program at the Kiggavik Project began on March 12 with Peter’s Expediting Limited (PEL) breaking trail.

 The haul started with the transport of five “Seacan” containers full of drilling and camp supplies to the Kiggavik site. During the return trips from Kiggavik to Baker Lake, PEL brought back four containers containing scrap materials and one trailer with used drill rods. This material will be sent to licensed disposal sites in the south during the upcoming open water barge season.

 PEL then began hauling fuel to the site. About 100,000 liters of Jet A fuel along with 110,000 liters of diesel fuel was transported to the AREVA fuel cache and pumped into large Envirotanks.

 A good trail was established and the haul was going well, but with the warmer weather fast approaching PEL thought it safer to request some help to complete the fuel haul in good time.2014 Winter Haul (1)

 M&T Enterprises from Rankin Inlet responded to the call and was able to bring its equipment to finish the fuel haul and transport the remainder of the drill supplies, such as core boxes, core racks, and bundles of drill rods.

 The final trip of the winter haul took place on April 27 with a load of drill rods. In total, there were 16 trips consisting of 30 loads of freight transported to the Kiggavik Site in just over six weeks.IM2014 Winter Haul (2)

 Thank you to Peter’s Expediting Limited and M&T Enterprises a successful winter haul.

The site will now be ready for the summer exploration field season to start in early June.

AREVA’s Commitment to Homeland Visits

For the past few years, AREVA has helped several of Nunavut’s Kivalliq region elders revisit their ancestral homelands. This past July, AREVA organized a homeland visit for the Tiktaalaaq and Noah families on the shores of the Canadian Heritage Kazan River.

You can live this experience with them as their memories of times past come back and the grave sites of Kazan people are honoured. View the video here: Homeland Visit 2013

We sincerely thank Winnie Owingayak, Jean Simailak and Martha Taliruq for providing the music. This song recounts the journey of hunters connecting with the weather and the land.


AREVA Supports Kivalliq Science Camp

A group of 32 students and their teachers from the Kivalliq region recently spent a week learning about geology, first aid, and the global positioning system (GPS) at the Kivalliq Science Camp, which was held from September 4-9. The camp, which is run by the Kivalliq Science Educators Community (KSEC), aims to provide students with hands-on learning experiences that complement the theory that is taught within the walls of a classroom. AREVA Resources has been a proud sponsor of the Science Camp since 2007 and participated for the third time in the week’s events.

Along with speaking to the students about geology in the Kivalliq region, health, safety and Environmental Protection at the Kiggavik camp and the Nunavut Environmental Assessment process, AREVA Resources also provided each student with the opportunity to go for a helicopter ride. This aspect of the camp was particularly well-received, as 30 out of 32 students listed the ride as their favorite part of the camp.

Despite less than cooperative weather, camp organizer Glen Brocklebank said the students remained enthusiastic and engaged throughout the week. An especially exciting aspect was the lessons that participants shared amongst themselves, including when some of the students from Repulse Bay, who are experienced with camping, showed the others how to light a stove and lantern.

“AREVA is always excited to get involved with activities involving youth within the Kivalliq region. This event is especially important to us, as workers with a science-based background will make up a sizeable portion of AREVA’s Kiggavik workforce. It just makes sense for us to help the schools with developing an interest in the field early on,” said Barry McCallum, AREVA’s Manager of Nunavut Affairs.


Staying Local: AREVA Utilizes Inuit-Owned Contractors for Kiggavik Procurement

ForestHeliAt the Kiggavik exploration site, AREVA Resources Canada relies upon a diverse collection of local contractors to supply everything from groceries to jet fuel. Ensuring that these goods and services are delivered in a cost-efficient and timely manner is often a challenge, especially in the demanding environment of Canada’s North.

One such business able to enter into a mutually beneficial relationship with AREVA to meet our procurement needs is Forest North Aviation and Logistics. Forest is an Inuit owned joint venture (JV) between Forest Helicopters and Peter’s Expediting Limited that provides helicopter services for the Kiggavik site. Since 2010, two Inuit owned companies, including Forest North, have been awarded the helicopter services contract for the project.

While local contracting expenditures would rise drastically should the Kiggavik project proceed to construction and operation, AREVA has already spent over $20 million dollars for northern contracting and services during Exploration and Environmental Baseline work since 2007, accounting for 34% of total contract expenditures. Of this, $12M or 21% went to Inuit owned firms. In fact, it is estimated that during the life cycle of the proposed Kiggavik mine, the value of contracts going to northern suppliers could exceed $1 billion. These relationships will contribute to the region’s economic growth through the creation of new jobs and business opportunities.

 Inuit owned businesses provide an efficient and cost-effective way to procure much-needed goods and services for the Kiggavik exploration team, and AREVA looks forward to strengthening these partnerships as the project continues to advance.