Impact review board okays Nunavut mine pit expansion (Nunatsiaq News – April 21, 2016)

Meadowbank’s Vault Pit expansion expected to produce 400,000 tonnes of ore

The Nunavut Impact Review Board has given a green light to the expansion of an open mine pit at Agnico Eagle Mine Ltd.’s Meadowbank gold mine near Baker Lake.

Agnico Eagle first proposed in July 2014 to expand its current Vault Pit operation southwest into nearby Phaser Lake to form Phaser Pit and BB Phaser Pit. Vault Pit, located about eight kilometres northeast of Meadowbank’s main mine site, is one of three pits currently being mined on the Kivalliq site.

“After a thorough review of the potential eco-systemic and socio-economic impacts of the proposed project, the [NIRB] has concluded that the Vault Pit Expansion Project may proceed,” NIRB chair Elizabeth Copland said in an April 18 decision.

The NIRB decision is based on community consultations the board held in Baker Lake is early March, during which the board heard, “no outstanding technical issues or concerns with the proposed project amendments, provided that AEM followed the mitigation measures described within its original Final Environmental Impact Statement and within the Addendum.”

The NIRB’s hearing report and recommendation will now be forwarded to the federal minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, who will make the final decision on the expansion.

Vault Pit will require significant work, including the dewatering of Phaser Lake, an estimated volume of 700,000 cubic metres.

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