NIRB says no to Nunavut diamond project (Nunatsiaq News – April 7, 2016)

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Project should be “modified or abandoned,” review board says

The Nunavut Impact Review Board has recommended a diamond exploration project in the Kivalliq region be revised or scrapped due to local social and environmental concerns.

“The project has the potential to result in unacceptable adverse ecosystemic and socio-economic impacts,” the NIRB said in a screening decision issued April 4.

On its proposed Kahuna Diamond Project, located about 54 kilometres northeast of Rankin Inlet and 35 km southwest of Chesterfield Inlet, Dunnedin Ventures Inc. planned to conduct year-round diamond exploration from March 2016 to March 2018.

Those plans included diamond drilling and bulk sampling and the daily transport of personnel, equipment, heavy machinery and fuel from Rankin Inlet, among other activities.

The advanced stage project is still recovering diamonds from a series of kimberlite formations and till samples collected in the summer of 2015, which revealed a high grade sample of 6.5 carats per tonne.

But the NIRB said the project raised too many concerns among Inuit and regional groups, determining the project should be “modified or abandoned,” in its screening decision report and April 4 letter addressed to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett.

In comments directed to the NIRB in early 2016, the Kivalliq Inuit Association and Chesterfield Inlet’s Aqigiq Hunters and Trappers Organization cited concerns over Dunnedin’s lack of community consultation and its limited transparency with community organizations.

Aqigiq said the proposed project could affect wildlife in the region, including caribou migration routes, bird nesting grounds and fish habitats.

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