Nunavut Impact Review Board Issues Final Hearing Report Following Review of AREVA Resources Canada Incorporated’s “Kiggavik Uranium Mine” Project

CAMBRIDGE BAY, NU – May 8, 2015 – The Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB or the Board) has completed its review of AREVA Resources Canada Incorporated’s (AREVA) “Kiggavik Uranium Mine” Project (the Kiggavik Project or Project) and submitted its Final Hearing Report, including recommendations, to the federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and associated responsible Ministers for their review and decision.

NIRB Final Hearing Report

NIRB letter to the minister of aboriginal affairs

NIRB news release

After a thorough review of the potential ecosystemic and socio-economic impacts of the proposed Project, the Board has concluded that the Kiggavik Uranium Mine Project should not proceed at this time. The Kiggavik Project as presented has no definite start date or development schedule. The Board found that this adversely affected the weight and confidence which it could give to assessments of future ecosystemic and socio-economic effects.

The Kiggavik Uranium Mine Project consists of the proposed construction, operation, closure, and reclamation of a uranium ore mining and milling operation approximately 80 km west of Baker Lake, in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut.  Mineral deposits at the Kiggavik and Sissons sites (located approximately 17 km apart) would be accessed using both open pit and underground mining methods, with the two sites connected by a mine haul road.  A mill and related facilities, main accommodations for Project personnel, and a landing strip would be located at the Kiggavik site.  The uranium product (yellowcake) would be packaged into barrels at the Kiggavik site and transported via aircraft to Points North, Saskatchewan, and onward to ground transportation networks in southern Canada.  The Project would be resupplied annually during the open water season using a purpose-built dock and fuel storage facility in Baker Lake, with Project materials transported from the dock facility in Baker Lake to the Kiggavik and Sissons sites using a winter access road, AREVA’s preferred road alternative.   

An assessment of the Project was initiated by the NIRB following release of a positive conformity determination by the Nunavut Planning Commission on January 16, 2009.  Since that time, the Project has progressed through the NIRB’s Screening and Review processes under Article 12 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA), with numerous community visits, information sessions, technical meetings and opportunities for the public and interested parties to participate and provide their input to the Board, leading to a Final Hearing in Baker Lake, March 3-14, 2015.   

In completing the Board’s Review of the Project, the NIRB considered the information contained within the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statements filed by AREVA Resources Canada Incorporated, as well as the substantial written comments, information requests and final written submissions filed by federal, territorial and local governments, designated Inuit organizations and members of the public throughout the course of the Review. The NIRB also carefully considered comments, evidence and advice from community representatives, members of the public and formal intervenors throughout the Review,including hearing from the many individuals who appeared on the record during the two weeks of the Board’s Final Hearing in Baker Lake, Nunavut.  

The Final Hearing Report, which includes an executive summary, is available from the NIRB public registry at the following location:

The Board’s report offers the following observations which, should AREVA choose to resubmit the Project in future, will assist the NIRB to ensure that an assessment which meets the requirements of Article 12 of the NLCA can be undertaken:

  • development of Inuit languages applicable to uranium and uranium mining by the Inuit Language Authority;  
  • development of further baseline information respecting caribou population trends, as well as baseline information pertinent to the prediction of project activities upon fish and marine wildlife populations of significance to the residents and communities of the Nunavut Settlement Area;  
  • advancement of educational programs which would enable Inuit to be qualified for, and so to take advantage of, employment opportunities associated with uranium mining beyond limited entry level positions; and
  • monitoring programs which can fully demonstrate to the residents and communities of the Nunavut Settlement Area that their reliance on caribou, fish and marine wildlife as a source of food remains untainted by industrial development of uranium in the region.
  • During the Board’s assessment of the Project, the Board benefitted enormously from all those

participants who shared their experiences, knowledge and Inuit Qaujimaningit with the Board. The NIRB is grateful to all who contributed over the past five years to the Board’s Review, and the Final Hearing Report and associated recommendations reflect these vital contributions to our process.

If the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development accepts the NIRB’s report and agrees with the Board’s conclusion that the Kiggavik Project should not proceed at this time, this does not mean that this Project should not proceed at any time.  The Board intends that the Kiggavik Project may be resubmitted for consideration at such future time when increased certainty regarding the project start date can be provided, and so enable the Board to make more definite and confident assessments having regard to the enduring significance of caribou, fish and marine wildlife for Nunavummiut.


Elizabeth Copland
Nunavut Impact Review Board

For more information, the media may contact:
Ryan Barry, Executive Director
Nunavut Impact Review Board
1-866-233-3033 or rbarry /at/