“This is another step for a brighter future for Inuit”
It took more than three years of talks — which broke down at least once — but the Kivalliq Inuit Association and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. have finally completed and signed an Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement July 13 for the Meliadine gold project.
Officials from both the KIA and AEM signed the agreement in Rankin Inlet, just 24 kilometres away from what would be Nunavut’s third operating mine, and second gold mine, after Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank gold mine outside of Baker Lake.
While complete details of the IIBA are yet to be made public, signatories, in a July 13 news release, said it addresses the protection of Inuit values, culture and language as well as the natural environment. Agnico Eagle told Nunatsiaq News the terms of the agreement will be made public once it translated into Inuktitut.
With the signing of the IIBA, Agnico Eagle says it’s made its first payment of $1.5 million to the KIA. The release also commits the company to working toward a minimum rate of 50 per cent Inuit employment at the mine.
“KIA has strived to balance the need to protect wildlife and the environment,” said president David Ningeongan in the same release. “This will lead to future sustainable development and benefits for Inuit in the Kivalliq region.
“For more than 40 months KIA has worked hard on finalizing and strengthening the IIBA for Inuit in the Kivalliq,” he added. “By signing this IIBA, this is another step for a brighter future for Inuit.”
Talks between the Inuit association and the mining company hit a roadblock last fall, when Agnico Eagle asked the federal government to intervene and provide compulsory arbitration.
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