AREVA’s Kiggavik Proposal and the Nunavut Impact Review Board

The following documents, presented in chronological order, deal with AREVA’s proposed Kiggavik uranium mine. The Kiggavik mine would be located west of Baker Lake, on the migration routes of major caribou herds. AREVA’s proposal is currently undergoing an environmental review by the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

After Urangesellschaft’s proposal for the Kiggavik uranium mine was defeated by the Northern Anti-Uranium Coalition and the Baker Lake Concerned Citizens Committee in 1990, the rights to the ore body were eventually acquired by AREVA Resources Canada Incorporated.

AREVA began a public relations campaign in Nunavut in 2006.

Uranium firm opens office in Baker Lake (October 27, 2006) Nunatsiaq News

Proposed uranium mine wins KIA plaudits (November 7, 2008) Nunatsiaq News

In 2007, AREVA submitted an application to explore for uranium at the Kiggavik site. This application was “screened” by the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB). During the screening, the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board (BQCMB) submitted comments on AREVA’s application. The BQCMB voiced concern over the fact that the Kiggavik are is used for calving and post calving by the Beverly caribou herd. Accordingly, the BQCMB recommended that “No exploration or development activities should be allowed on post-calving areas of the Beverly caribou herd.  NIRB should prohibit further exploration and development in post-calving areas identified through surveys and from locations of satellite-collared caribou.”

Comments on AREVA’s Kiggavik exploration application (2007) Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board

The NIRB approved AREVA’s application without an environmental review, and AREVA began exploration in the summer of 2007.

Screening decision report for AREVA’s Kiggavik exploration application (2007) Nunavut Impact Review Board

In 2008, AREVA applied for an extension to its exploration license.

Comments on AREVA’s request for an extension (2008) Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board

Also in 2008, AREVA submitted a proposal to mine uranium at Kiggavik to government regulators.

The Kiggavik Project Proposal (November, 2008) AREVA Resources Canada Inc.

After a conformity determination by the Nunavut Planning Commission in 2009, AREVA’s proposal was forwarded to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) for screening. In March of 2009, the NIRB released their screening decision, recommending that AREVA’s proposal be subjected to a full environmental review.

Screening Decision Report on AREVA’s Kiggavik Proposal (March, 2009) Nunavut Impact Review Board [Appendices include comments on AREVA’s proposal from community members, government institutions, community groups, etc.]

In 2010, the environmental review began. A rough outline of the structure of the review can be found in the “process map” included below.

Revised “process map” for the NIRB review of AREVA’s Kiggavik Proposal [UPDATED February 2013]. (February, 2013) [Includes a tentative schedule of the review]

The focus of the NIRB review is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) — a document produced by AREVA that details all of the impacts the proposed mine may have on the environment and society. NIRB released “draft guidelines” to direct AREVA in their development of an EIS.

In early 2011, the NIRB received commentary on these draft guidelines from various groups. Some of these comments pointed to significant problems with the way in which the environmental review is structured, most notably the lack of documentation translated into Inuktitut and a lack of serious attention to cumulative impacts. Notably, the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization requested that the review be put on hold until the draft guidelines could be translated into Inuktitut.

Makita Responds to the NIRB’s Failure to Translate the Guidelines for AREVA’s Impact Statement into Inuktitut (November 18, 2010) Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit

Makita Comments on Draft Guidelines for AREVA’s Environmental Impact Statement

Makita Comments on Revised Draft Guideines for AREVA’s Environmental Impact Statement

Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board’s Comments on Revised Draft Guidelines and Scope for AREVA’s Environmental Impact Statement (January, 2011)

Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization’s Comments on Revised Draft Guidelines for AREVA’s Environmental Impact Statement (February, 2011)

Despite these public criticisms, the NIRB refused to halt the review and continued despite the fact that key documents are only available in English.

Letter to Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization (March 2, 2011) Nunavut Impact Review Board

Nunavut board will forge ahead with Kiggavik review (March 7, 2011) Nunatsiaq News

The issue of the lack of translation of key documents was again addressed by the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers at a NIRB workshop.

‘NIRB has failed us’ — Makita supports the HTO’s request that the review of AREVA’s proposal be put on hold due to translation issues (March 24, 2011) Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit

In May of 2011, the NIRB released the final guidelines for AREVA’s Environmental Impact Statement, in English only.

Guidelines for AREVA’s Environmental Impact Statement (May, 2011) Nunavut Impact Review Board

In late 2011, AREVA submitted a draft EIS to the NIRB. However, in early 2012, the NIRB rejected AREVA’s draft EIS due to several deficiencies.

NIRB Gives AREVA failing grade on Kiggavik’s Draft EIS (January 20, 2012) Nunatsiaq News

AREVA submitted a revised draft EIS to the NIRB in April of 2012.

AREVA’s Kiggavik Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (April, 2012).

In late May of 2012, NIRB held a series of community information sessions about AREVA’s draft EIS. During the meeting in Baker Lake, community members raised many important concerns with AREVA’s proposal.

Hunters, elders and community members voice concerns at Nunavut Impact Review Board information sessions (June 3, 2012) Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit

Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit and the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization released discussion papers, highlighting further concerns with and deficiencies in AREVA’s draft EIS.

Discussion Paper: Impacts on Caribou and Inuit Harvesting of Caribou in AREVA’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed “Kiggavik” Uranium Mine. (May, 2012) Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization

Discussion Paper — Kiggavik Draft Socioeconomic Impact Statement. (June, 2012) Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit

In late June of 2012, parties submitted Information Requests to the NIRB. These are formal written questions that the NIRB forwards to AREVA or regulators, meant to provide further information necessary to review AREVA’s draft EIS.

Information Requests related to AREVA’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement. (July 3) Various Organizations.

These Information Requests revealed further deficiencies in AREVA’s draft EIS, many of which are quite serious.

NIRB Information Requests Reveal Serious Deficiencies in AREVA’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (July 5, 2012) Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit

On August 30, AREVA wrote to the NIRB, indicating that it will response to information requests by January 31, 2013.

Anticipated Information Request Submission Date (August 30, 2012) AREVA Resources

On September 20, the NIRB responded to AREVA’s. The NIRB expressed concern that AREVA was intentionally delaying the review process by taking an unnecessarily long time to respond to Information Requests.  The NIRB’s letter also indicates that it was concerned that AREVA was “planning to omit and defer an unspecified number of responses.” The letter later added, “The Board cautions AREVA that sufficiently detailed IR responses are required to facilitate the efforts of all parties participating in the Review process.”

Nunavut Impact Review Board concerned AREVA is delaying environmental review and ommitting Information Requests. (September 21, 2012) Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit

On October 15, the NIRB issued a new timeline for the review of AREVA’s proposal. The technical meeting and pre-hearing conference were schedule for late May and early June of 2013.

Receipt of AREVA Resources Canada Inc.’s Information Request Response Timeline and the Next Steps in the NIRB’s Review of the Kiggavik project. (October 15, 2012) Nunavut Impact Review Board

On December 3, Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit wrote to the NIRB, requesting that the technical meeting and pre-hearing conference be put off until the fall of 2013. Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit was concerned that the meetings were scheduled during important time for hunting and other land based-activities in Baker Lake.

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

On December 6, the North Slave Métis Alliance wrote to the NIRB, expressing support for Makita’s request that meetings be delayed until the fall of 2013, to better accord with Aboriginal culture and seasonal cycles. The letter stated, “Interference with the natural cycle of land use of Indigenous peoples is just one more cumulative effect of development on Aboriginal Cultural Rights that frequently go unrecognized, and unmitigated.”

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

On December 7, the NIRB responded to Makita’s request that meetings be delayed until the fall of 2013. The letter indicated that the NIRB would not put the meetings off until the fall, because excluding “spring and/or summer seasons from any steps involving community participation…would impose an unreasonable limitation on the Board’s ability to fulfill our mandate for a period of several months every year.” The NIRB did, however, commit to consulting with communities prior to scheduling meetings.

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

On January 31, AREVA submitted its response to Information Requests

AREVA responds to Information Requests. (February 1, 2013) Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit

On February 6, the Nunavut Impact Review Board approved AREVA’s responses to Information Requests, and circulated information about the next steps in the review process. Meetings are still tentatively scheduled for late May and early June of 2013.

Review board announces next steps for review of proposed Kiggavik uranium mine. (February 8, 2013) Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit