Nunavut advisory board blocks Areva’s $2.1bn uranium project in Canada

11 May 2015 (Last Updated May 11th, 2015 18:30)

The Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) has recommended blocking Areva Resources Canada's $2.1bn Kiggavik uranium mine project.

The Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) has recommended blocking Areva Resources Canada's $2.1bn Kiggavik uranium mine project.

The review board in the Canadian province said that the project lacks a definite start date or development schedule, which adversely affects evaluating the mine's potential eco-systemic and socio-economic effects.

In a letter to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt, the NIRB said: "The board intends that the Kiggavik project may be re-submitted for consideration at such future time when increased certainty regarding the project start date can be provided."

NIRB has made recommendations to the Aboriginal Affairs Minister that could assist when considering future proposal related to this project.

"We just want to make sure that we have the best possible protection for our caribou and that mining is done responsibly." 

The board previously identified the issues that should be considered if the project proceeds, including construction of bridge crossings over the Thelon River, dyking and dewatering of a portion of Andrew Lake, potential impacts to wildlife, especially caribou, caribou migration and caribou calving grounds.

Areva has been considering the project since at least 1997, when it acquired the Kiggavik from Urangesellschaft.

The company carried out a number of pre-feasibility studies on the mine before filing an application with the regulator in 2007.

At NIRB's final hearing earlier this year, Areva said that worldwide uranium prices made the project uneconomical at that time.

The Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization said in its closing submission to the board: "We just want to make sure that we have the best possible protection for our caribou and that mining is done responsibly...we do not want this proposal approved but still hanging over our heads for decades to come, not knowing what the future of our community will be.

"The company can return when they have a start date, when they are serious about getting this project off the ground."