Nunavik mine owes $72 million to creditors; Chinese owners turn project over to Toronto bank – by Jane George ( – August 14, 2013)

Canadian Royalties Ltd. owes $53.6 million to eight Nunavik companies

Canadian Royalties Ltd.‘s Nunavik Nickel mine, which was to be Nunavik’s second operating mine, spinning out minerals for hungry markets abroad, appears so far to have left a trail of debt throughout Nunavik.

The creditors owed a total of nearly $54 million by the Chinese-owned mine include Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping, Desgagnés Transarctik Inc., the fuel division of the Fédération des Coopératives du Nouveau-Québec, Laval Fortin Adams, Iglu Construction and Nuvumiut Developments (Ganotec-Nunavumiut and Kiewit-Nunavumiut), which all have links to Nunavik Inuit organizations or individuals.

The construction firm Laval Fortin Adams is owed about $14 million, the largest amount of any of the Nunavik-based companies left holding the bill for work on the mine and docking complex. L’Echo Abitibien says another $16.4 million is owed to Construction Promec de Rouyn-Noranda.

Now the Chinese owners of the mine have turned the cash-strapped Nunavik Nickel mine over to a private merchant bank in Toronto, which will see if there’s hope of salvaging the project, where workers are still stockpiling ore.

This is what the plan was last November: that Nunavik would soon see huge ice-class vessels sailing through Hudson Strait to bring nickel, copper, platinum and palladium to European markets.

After sinking $735 million into infrastructure, Jien Canada Mining Ltd., the Chinese company that took over Canadian Royalties several years ago, said it planned to ramp up production in early 2013, training and hiring more Nunavik workers.

The mine company, which expected to reach full production by 2014, was to remain in operation for at least 13 years.

Makivik Corp., which in 2008 received a $1 million signing bonus for the Inuit Benefits Agreement with Canadian Royalties, was to receive a second $1 million payment when the Nunavik Nickel Mine started operations this year.

After that, over the mine’s lifespan, the deal was to generate up to $80 million in benefits for Makivik and the three communities nearest the mine, Puvirnituq, Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq.

The IBA also gave Inuit priority on jobs worth about $14 million or more a year as well as other spinoffs valued at least $50 million.

But these benefits are unlikely to flow, at least in the near future. The Toronto private business bank Forbes and Manhattan took control of the project July 19.

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