Q Will the Kiggavik project include a road to the mine site? Will the road be seasonal or open all year?
A The Kiggavik mine will need a road between Baker Lake and the site to transport supplies to the mine. The mine site would operate all year, but the road may be seasonal. The current plan is to start construction with a winter road and continue using it through operations. AREVA is assessing the potential effects of an all-season road in case the winter road operating season shortens and/or an all-season road becomes necessary to adequately support the mine at some time during operations. We plan to allow public access to the road with controls to protect people and wildlife.
For more information on the mine access road please see DEIS Volume 2, Section 10.4.
Q When will the Kiggavik project be built?
A The Kiggavik project remains in the exploration phase as it undergoes an environmental assessment. Given successful completion of the environmental assessment and subsequent permits and licenses from Inuit and Land Claim Organizations and federal and territorial regulators, a construction decision will be made by the Kiggavik Project joint venture partners taking also into account the uranium market conditions. The earliest that this decision could happen is in 2015, with a potential start of construction in 2017.
JOBS & INVESTMENT
Q When will AREVA start hiring for the project?
A At present, 20 to 35 people from Baker Lake work at the Kiggavik site or in Baker Lake during the summer to support exploration and community engagement activities. Hiring for full-time positions will be limited until a decision to build the project is made, at which time significant recruiting would begin.
The project is expected to employ up to 750 people during construction and about 400 to 600 during operations. AREVA is committed to hiring Inuit workers at the Kiggavik mine. These workers will preferentially be drawn from the Kivalliq Region. Further information can be found in the DEIS Volume 2, Section 18-Socio-Economics and Community.
Q What type of training will be offered and when?
A Upon successful completion of all regulatory approvals and a positive decision to develop, AREVA plans to train local workers so a skilled workforce will be available when the mine opens. AREVA plans to train up to 100 local workers for mining, milling and other jobs. For information on the types of jobs that will be available please see DEIS Volume 2, Section 18.2.3.
Q How do I become more involved with the Kiggavik Project?
A The Kiggavik Community Liaison Committee (CLC) was established in 2006 as a way to have ongoing contact with various groups in Baker Lake as the Project progresses. The CLC has been an excellent way for AREVA to get community feedback on topics like local employment, traditional knowledge, road options and environmental baseline studies.
Members of the CLC are appointed by the organizations they represent. The organizations with members on the CLC are the Hamlet Council, Hunters and Trappers Organization, the District Education Authority, the Aberdeen Lake People, the business community, the Youth Group, the Elders Society, the Health Committee and the Justice Committee. The Chair is elected from this group. Five to 10 meetings a year are held with translation in Inuktitut. The meetings dates and times are announced on the radio, and they are open to the public. If you can’t attend a meeting, the minutes are available in AREVA’s Baker Lake office or online here.
You can also participate in the Nunavut Impact Review Board process. The Nunavut Impact Review Board is an Institution of Public Government established in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement .
Q What happens if the land and water get polluted from the Kiggavik Project?
A In all of our operations, we make sure the health and function of the environment is protected and maintained. Information about our commitment to protecting the environment, monitoring and continual improvement can be found in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Volume 2 Section 17. The assessment of possible effects the project may have on the environment are presented in DEIS Volumes 4 to 10.
The Kiggavik Project would not harm the water quality downstream in any communities. Air, water, lake sediment and plant and animal samples from six communities downstream from Saskatchewan uranium mines have been monitored by northern residents in the Athabasca Working Group Community Environmental Monitoring Program each year for the past 10 years. No contamination from uranium mines has ever been found in or near any of these communities.
Q How do you prevent Accidents?
A We work to prevent environmental harm through accidents by two general categories
1) efforts to reduce the frequency of accidents by designing to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place with double containment, routine monitoring and management programs
2) efforts to minimize environmental harm if an accident does occur by having adequate equipment, people and training to provide timely emergency and remediation response if required.
For more information on accidents and malfunctions please see DEIS Volume 10 and the accompanying Spill Contingency Plan (Appendix 10B) and Risk Management and Emergency Response Plan (Appendix 10C), which would allow us to clean up and contain any problems quickly.
Q How is waste being dealt with at Baker Lake now?
A No radioactive waste is transported through, or disposed of in, Baker Lake as part of the exploration program. Based on the Kiggavik Project proposal, none would be transported during operations.
The waste management plan currently in place at the Kiggavik exploration camp was reviewed and approved by federal and territorial regulators. Some domestic waste (household and construction waste) is either incinerated at the exploration camp or sent to the Baker Lake landfill by helicopter. Hazardous waste (waste oils) are stored on site until they can be transported to an approved recycling facility. Contaminated waste and radioactive waste (exploration drill cuttings) are secured in a locked facility at Kiggavik until they can be processed in the proposed Kiggavik mill or transported to an existing licensed uranium mill such as the McClean Lake mill in Saskatchewan.
Q How will waste be dealt with once the Kiggavik Project starts to operate?
A In the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Volume 2 Appendix 2s, we are currently considering the following measures to deal with waste. Domestic waste would be incinerated on site. A landfill would be constructed within one of the rock piles for domestic waste that cannot be incinerated (similar to any municipal landfill). The domestic waste would be encapsulated within the rock pile during the decommissioning of the site to stabilize it. Hazardous waste, such as oils and chemicals, would be transported to an approved disposal and recycling facility. Radioactive and contaminated waste would be managed and secured at the Kiggavik site for long-term stability. These materials would be placed in the proposed tailings management facility, covered with rock and overburden and, finally, re-vegetated. No radioactive or contaminated waste would be transported through Baker Lake. We provide detailed information on management of radioactive and contaminated waste in the DEIS Volume 2 Appendix 2U.
Q What is uranium used for?
A Approximately 85% of uranium produced in Canada is exported to countries around the world for use in nuclear reactors. The remainder is used to generate electricity in Canada and in medical isotope production.
Q How much uranium does the Kiggavik Project have? How long will the mine be open?
A Our current estimates indicate that there are approximately 44,000 tonnes of uranium ore reserves at Kiggavik. We foresee that mining activities would start two to three years prior to milling. Based on anticipated annual production rates of 2,000 to 4,000 tonnes of uranium concentrate (yellowcake), mining would last 13 to 25 years, while milling would last 11 to 22 years.
Q How will AREVA ship uranium concentrate (yellowcake) out of the site?
A AREVA proposes to transport the uranium concentrate (yellowcake) out of the Kiggavik mine site to existing southern transportation networks by airplane using the airstrip that will be constructed at the site. As part of the Environmental Assessment process, we are evaluating the potential effects in the unlikely event of a transportation accident.
Q How will AREVA make sure our land is restored once the mine is finished, and that the animals and fish we eat remain healthy?
A When mining and milling activities are complete, the site will be decommissioned and the land returned to a stable, self-sustaining condition for traditional use. Cluff Lake, one of our closed uranium mining operations in Saskatchewan, has undergone this decommissioning process. The Cluff Lake fact sheet provides an overview of the Cluff Lake mine reclamation and ongoing environmental monitoring activities. The Cluff Lake Detailed Decommissioning Plan outlines all the activities undertaken to physically decommission the site and provide post-decommissioning environmental monitoring prior to eventually transferring the site to the Province of Saskatchewan through the Institutional Control Program.
You can read our preliminary plan for decommissioning and reclamation in our Draft Environmental Impact Statement Volume 2 Appendix 2R.
Q What is the risk of radiation exposure to our people and the environment?
A Modern uranium mines are designed, built and operated with radiation and environmental protection in mind. Some of the measures in place include ventilation systems that quickly reduce radon concentrations in air, ore containment systems to prevent radon emissions in air, continuous monitoring systems that warn of changing concentrations of radon in air and concrete shielding to reduce radiation readings in parts of the mill.
Modern uranium mine site workers receive, on average, only about 5% of the regulated dose limit and up to 1000 times less radiation than uranium mine workers received 60 years ago.