Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit responds to review board’s rejection of AREVA’s Kiggavik proposal

Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit (‘Makita’) today responded to the announcement by the Nunavut Impact Review Board that it has recommended the rejection of AREVA Resources’ proposed Kiggavik uranium mine.

“Makita is overjoyed by the NIRB’s decision,” said Makita spokesperson Hilu Tagoona.
“In light of all the serious issues raised by intervenors, and the clear majority opposition to the project expressed by the Inuit residents of Baker Lake and other Kivalliq communities during the Final Hearing, we agreed with the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization that the review process should have been terminated – and restarted only when the proponent could announce a start date for the project.”

“Future generations of Inuit will view this decision as responsible and just. If Kiggavik had been approved at this time it would have resulted in induced development that would put considerable pressure on the caribou herds on which our culture and our well-being depend,” she added.

The next step in the process is a decision by the federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Decelopment (AANDC). Makita will be writing the Minister of AANDC, the Premier of Nunavut and the President of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. urging them to respect the NIRB’s decision and the wishes of the residents of the communities closest to the proposed project.


NOTE: In the Community Roundtables phase of NIRB’s Final Hearing, each community was asked to indicate whether or not they supported the Kiggavik proposal. Six of the seven Kivalliq communities recommended that the NIRB not approve the Kiggavik proposal at this time, and without a start date. Only one, Arviat, was split — with some delegates supporting and others opposed. Final comments from each community start at the bottom of 2241 of

The comments from residents of Baker Lake are particularly important, as they explain that all recent consultation attempts have shown a high degree of public opposition to the project as it is currently being proposed. It is most unfortunate that these statements received almost no coverage in the Nunavut or national media at the time.

Posted in Uncategorized

Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit requests review board not approve AREVA’s Kiggavik proposal

Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit (Makita) has completed its review of AREVA Resources
Canada Inc.’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Kiggavik uranium mine. Makita appreciates the opportunity to provide comment on AREVA’s proposal and to act as an intervenor in the review of this proposal.

Makita requests that the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) not approve AREVA’s Kiggavik proposal at this time. Makita believes approval for Kiggavik should be withheld until:

 AREVA further develops the Kiggavik proposal. The current proposal lacks concrete
timelines for production, which makes all analyses of impacts on the ecological and
socio-economic environment so uncertain that they are largely unreliable. Further, there
are serious deficiencies in the analyses of cumulative effects and the choice of
significance thresholds in the FEIS.

 Nunavut regulators implement a policy/planning framework capable of controlling
induced development associated with the Kiggavik proposal. Kiggavik would be a “basin
opening” project, leading to increased exploration and mining for uranium in the
Kiggavik area. Nunavut requires a strategy to protect critical caribou habitat and places of
high cultural value before approving a basin opening project like Kiggavik

Makita has prepared technical comments on the following sections of AREVA’s FEIS, which support the above recommendation:

1) Analysis of Project Need and Purpose. AREVA does not provide a timeline for the construction and operation of the Kiggavik mine, and is seeking permission to construct Kiggavik at some undetermined (and possibly entirely hypothetical) point in the future after uranium markets have rebounded. Makita is aware that many industry analysts believe that it may be a considerable period of time before the price of uranium is high enough to make a relatively marginal project like Kiggavik economically viable. In the interim, the analyses contained in the FEIS will become outdated, as baseline conditions change. This makes all analyses and conclusions contained in the FEIS so uncertain that they are largely unreliable. Makita believes AREVA may simply be moving the Kiggavik project through the assessment process in order to sell it to another company. AREVA SA (the parent company of AREVA Resources Canada) has undergone significant financial turmoil in the recent past, and is in the process of liquidating assets in order to balance its books.

2) Cumulative effects assessment for caribou. AREVA has acknowledged that its goal for the Kiggavik project is to provide a base of operations for future uranium development in the area. Kiggavik is surrounded by other uranium mineralization and exploration projects. If AREVA is permitted to construct infrastructure (road and mills) in the area, it will significantly decrease the overhead costs for other companies to open mines in the area. As a result, if Kiggavik is approved, it will make the Baker Lake area much more attractive to the uranium industry, leading to increased exploration and mining for uranium in the area. This is called “induced development”. An analysis of cumulative effects should consider the basin opening potential of this project. A central component of an analysis of induced development should be consideration of whether or not Nunavut has a policy/planning framework capable of controlling induced development and ensuring it does not significantly affect caribou and the caribou hunting culture of Baker Lake Inuit. No such analysis is presented in AREVA’s FEIS. Makita believes that the current policy/planning framework in Nunavut is incapable of controlling the induced development Kiggavik would bring.

3) Significance threshold for impacts on wildlife. The significance thresholds selected by AREVA for wildlife define significant impacts as impacts that will threaten the long-term viability of the population. This is a very high-scale and abstract way to define significance. Makita believes that such an abstract conceptualization of significance is inappropriate for assessing impacts on wildlife species that Inuit rely upon for subsistence purposes. Under the current conceptualization, it would not be deemed significant if caribou avoided the Baker Lake area for the entirety of the project lifespan, so long as the herds were not entirely and permanently destroyed. A scenario of this sort would clearly constitute a significant impact for Inuit hunters and their families in Baker Lake. Due to the choice of inappropriate significance thresholds, AREVA’s analyses of all wildlife species harvested by Inuit are inadequate.

4) AREVA’s Approach to Sustainable Development. AREVA boasts that it has a strong commitment to sustainable development, including its “social responsibility that requires participation in community development and establishing relationships of trust.” In support of this claim, AREVA provides a lengthy description of its operations in Saskatchewan. Makita believes that AREVA’s portrayal of itself as a socially responsible enterprise is inaccurate, especially with regards to AREVA’s operations in many African countries. Makita has acquired several documentary films which demonstrate the negative impacts AREVA’s mines have had in Gabon and Niger. Makita requests that the NIRB provide the opportunity for Makita to present this evidence to the NIRB board, intervening parties, and residents of Baker Lake during the public hearing.

Makita’s full technical comments can be accessed here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Nunavut Review Board Announces Dates For Final Hearing

In an advertisement in Nunatsiaq News, the Nunavut Impact Review Board has announced dates for the final hearing for the proposed Kiggavik uranium mine.

Final hearings will take place between March 2 and March 14, 2015. Further, the board has indicated that the hearings may be extended as far as March 20, if the board deems it necessary.

Posted in Uncategorized

EIS for Kiggavik uranium proposal available on-line

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for AREVA’s proposed Kiggavik uranium mine was submitted to the Nunavut Impact Review Board in early October 2014. The FEIS is now available on-line for public review.

According to a letter from the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) members of the public and institutions can review AREVA’s impact studies, and submit comments to the NIRB until January 16, 2015. Following this, AREVA will have 15 days to respond to comments. A public hearing will then be held in Baker Lake. The NIRB is currently engaged in discussions with the community of Baker Lake to determine an acceptable date for the hearings. The NIRB expects to release confirmation of dates and further details in the coming weeks.

Posted in Uncategorized

Greenlanders Protest Uranium Mining

On September 13, 2013, an open parliament meeting was held in Nuuk Greenland on the possibility of overturning a long-standing ban on uranium mining in the country. A group of Greenlandic citizens showed up to protest the meeting, expressing their continued opposition to uranium mining.






Posted in Uncategorized

AREVA responds to technical comments for Kiggavik Impact Statement

On May 8, AREVA Resources submitted responses to technical comments on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Technical comments were submitted in early April by a wide range of institutions, including Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit, the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization, the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, and a variety of departments from the Government of Nunavut and the Federal Government of Canada.

The technical comments, as well as AREVA’s responses, can be accessed here.

The next step in the review of AREVA’s proposal is a technical meeting in Rankin Inlet (May 27-31). The technical meeting will be a meeting between AREVA, the various intervener groups, and the Nunavut Impact Review Board staff.

Following the technical meeting, outstanding issues will be discussed at a community roundtable and pre hearing conference in Baker Lake (June 4-6).

Posted in Uncategorized

Parties submit technical comments on AREVA’s Draft EIS

On April 11, the Nunavut Impact Review Board uploaded technical comments that various parties submitted regarding AREVA Resource’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Kiggavik uranium project. Comments were submitted by Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, the Government of Nunavut, various Federal Government departments, the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization, the Canadian Arctic Resources Committee, the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board, and Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit.

AREVA has until May 8 to respond to the technical comments.

The technical comments can be accessed here.

A letter from NIRB to AREVA, discussing the technical comments and describing the next steps in the review process, can be accessed here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit submission to UN study on extractive industries in indigenous territories

Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit has made a submission to the study on extractive and energy industries in and near indigenous territories being conducted by Prof.  James Anaya, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The submission explains that since it was formed in November 2009, Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit has lobbied the institutions created by the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement to provide mechanisms to ensure the free, prior, and informed consent of Inuit in questions regarding uranium and other mineral extraction in the territory.

The submission documents that the experience of Nunavummiut to date has been rather the opposite of free, prior, and informed consent: that all key uranium-related decisions taken by institutions created by settlement of the NLCA have been made behind closed doors. These institutions have avoided the issue of democratic consent at all costs, opting instead for carefully controlled “consultations” with no real mandate to assess community consent in any meaningful way. The mining industry has been overrepresented in these “consultations”, to the point that both NTI and the GN relied on industry consultants for supposedly unbiased and impartial policy “advice”.

The submission repeats Makita’s call for a public inquiry into uranium mining, to be followed by free and democratic votes – by the residents of Baker Lake and among NLCA beneficiaries – on the wisdom of opening the door to who-knows-how-many uranium mines in Nunavut… with all the cumulative effects they would entail.


The website of Prof. Anaya’s study is

Makita’s submission can be found on our website at

Posted in Uncategorized

Inuit Association opposes heritage river designation for Back River

On February 21, 2013 the Kivalliq Inuit Association wrote to the Government of Nunavut, indicating that it does not support the nomination of the Back River for Canadian Heritage River status. The letter stated that the KIA opposes the heritage river designation because the KIA owns surface and subsurface rights to some parcels of land in the area that hold significant economic potential.

The KIA’s letter can be accessed here.

Moses Aupaluktuq, MLA for Baker Lake, raised the issue in Nunavut’s Legislative Assembly on March 18, 2013. 


Bill 49 – Appropriation (Operations & Maintenance) Act, 2013-2014 – Environment 
– Consideration in Committee
Mr. Aupaluktuq: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On page 133 of the business plan, the 
priorities for 2013-14, second bullet, correction, third bullet indicates complete 
negotiations for an umbrella Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement for Canadian Heritage 
Rivers in Nunavut. Followed by the fourth bullet with the support of residents of 
Kugaaruk and Baker Lake, which would include Gjoa Haven, to develop formal 
nomination development for Back River and present to the Canadian Heritage Rivers 
board for consideration.
Can the minister update the Committee of the current status of the nomination of Back 
River as a Canadian Heritage River? Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman (interpretation): Thank you, Mr. Aupaluktuq. Minister Arreak.
Hon. James Arreak (interpretation): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Pinksen can 
respond to his question. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman (interpretation): Thank you. Mr. Pinksen.
Mr. Pinksen: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The discussions are ongoing, but fairly recently 
the Kivalliq Inuit Association raised a number of concerns with the nomination of Back 
River. We have met with them just last month to discuss those concerns and those 
discussions are ongoing.
The concerns related to possible impacts of a Heritage River nomination on development, 
so we met with them just last month and those discussions are ongoing. We are still 
pursuing the designation. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman (interpretation): Thank you, Mr. Pinksen. Mr. Aupaluktuq.
Mr. Aupaluktuq: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the fact that the department 
does acknowledge that there was a letter submitted from the Kivalliq Inuit Association 
stating that they do not support the nomination of Back River, “that it has significant 
economic potential.”
There is some confusion from constituents as well as the process on, as well, from 
myself, that the priorities and as well as an opening comment prior that the environmental 
concerns is for the benefit and the protection of Inuit in Nunavut under their land claim 
It appears to be that the regional Inuit organization opposes this, based on the benefits of 
significant economic potential. In noting that the letter was received and the department 
has indicated that they are still ongoing with the nomination of Back River, I am glad that 
that was documented for the record.
I want to ask; has the department received any other such letter from any other Inuit 
representatives on the nomination? Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman (interpretation): Thank you, Mr. Aupaluktuq. Minister Arreak.
Hon. James Arreak (interpretation): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. To date, we have not 
received any further correspondence aside from the Kivalliq Inuit Association. They are 
the only ones we have received correspondence from on this matter. Thank you, Mr. 
Chairman (interpretation): Thank you, Minister Arreak. Mr. Aupaluktuq.
Mr. Aupaluktuq (interpretation): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I definitely will be 
consulting with my Baker Lake constituents in the hopes of resolving this issue and help 
them gain a full understanding. We will need to learn all the facts involved to come up 
with a solution, and to determine whether there will be sufficient support for the 
Posted in Uncategorized

Caribou Board Concerned About Timing of Community Meetings; Review Board Confirms Meetings Scheduled for Spring

On February 25, 2013, The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board (BQCMB) wrote to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB). In the letter, the BQCMB expressed concern with the tentative schedule for technical and community meetings for AREVA’s proposed Kiggavik uranium mine.

Previously, the NIRB had indicated that technical and community meetings  were tentatively scheduled for late May and early June of 2013. The BQCMB letter claimed that holding meetings at this time would impede the participation of hunters, because late May and early June are important hunting seasons.

This follows similar complaints from Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit and The North Slave Métis Alliance, both of which asked the NIRB to reschedule community meetings for the fall of 2013. The NIRB responded to Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit by refusing to reschedule meetings for the fall. However, the NIRB committed to consulting with communities about the specific dates for meetings.

On February 27, the NIRB confirmed that the meetings will take place in late May and early June. The NIRB made no reference to the BQCMB’s letter. Nor did the NIRB refer to the community consultations regarding meeting times promised in the previous letter to Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit.

Letter to Nunavut Impact Review Board. (December 3, 2012) Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit

Letter to Nunavut Impact Review Board. (December 6, 2012) North Slave Métis Alliance

Letter to Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit. (December 7, 2012) Nunavut Impact Review Board

BQCMB Letter to NIRB: -Comments on Kiggavik Technical Review Timeline (February 25, 2013)

NIRB Letter: Technical Meeting and Conference Schedule; Technical Comment Forms (February 27, 2013) Nunavut Impact Review Board

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,