IN DEPTH: Nunavut hunters want feds to stay out of uranium mine decision – by Sima Sahar Zerehi (CBC News North – August 11, 2015)

‘This would be a political disaster for Nunavut, and for Canada,’ Kivalliq Wildlife Board

Hunters in Nunavut say if the federal government overrides a recent uranium mining decision from the Nunavut Impact Review Board if will seriously erode the confidence of the Inuit in the regulatory system.

“This would be a political disaster for Nunavut, and for Canada,” states the Kivalliq Wildlife Board in a letter they sent to the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development yesterday.

“Residents and institutions of Nunavut have spent considerable time and resources participating in the NIRB screening and review of Areva’s proposal,” states the letter, “If you reject the NIRB report and recommendation, residents of Nunavut will question what the point of their participation in this process was.”

This spring, the Nunavut Impact Review Board issued its final report on a proposed uranium mine near Baker Lake. The report rejected Areva’s proposed Kiggavik mine on the grounds that it lacks a definite start date and a development schedule. The review board concluded that without this information it was impossible to assess the environmental and social impacts of the uranium mine.

The French mining company Areva, has asked the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to reject that decision. And the region’s hunters and trappers don’t want to see that happen.

‘Offensive to our organizations’

“For a company that says they are in support of Inuit organizations to turn around and ask for this was very offensive to our organizations,” says Leah Muckpah, the regional coordinator of the Kivalliq Wildlife Board.

Muckpah says the hunters in Nunavut see the board’s rejection of Areva’s proposal as “a gain to the region.” She says without a clear start date and a land use plan to protect the caribou calving ground, the risks of the project are too high.

“What will the situation of the caribou herd be in 20 years?” asks Ugo Lapointe, the Canada Program Coordinator of MiningWatch Canada, who says there is no way to predict the impact of the project without a clear start date.

For the rest of this article, click here: