“I want our younger generation to have jobs”
CAMBRIDGE BAY — Jobs take precedence over the health of caribou herds, Kitikmeot community representatives said at the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s final hearing on Sabina Gold and Silver Corp.‘s Back River gold project.
When representatives of communities in western Nunavut spoke April 30, after more than 20 hours of roundtable presentations and discussions in Cambridge Bay, it was clear that dreams for a better economic future won over the fear of environmental damage.
“I want our younger generation to have jobs,” said Barnabe Immingark of Kugaaruk, who reported on his community’s support for the mine. “I heard a vision of the future. It made me think about the delicate balance of nature and that everyone can have an influence on the environment. I heard from Sabina they will be developing on pristine land. But the company will handle the challenges by mining in a proper way and that there will be employment.”
Marie Anguti, also of Kugaaruk, said youth in her community of about 1,000 are hungry and don’t have enough to eat. Maybe more jobs would help, she said.
Interest in potential mining jobs came from many youth sitting around the table: Jordan Takkiruq of Gjoa Haven was eager to receive more information about jobs and working conditions at the mine.
Gjoa Haven would, like the region’s other growing young communities, also support the mine when it came time for communities to voice their opinion on the project.
According to estimates from Sabina’s final environmental assessment, 65 people in the Kitikmeot region are expected to work at the mine during its four-year construction period and 194 from the region will work there during the mine’s 10-year operating life.
The roundtable wrapped up three days of more technical presentations from Sabina, followed by responses from the governments of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, the federal government, Inuit regional organizations and Dene groups from the NWT.
One of the biggest issues at the hearing, held April 25 to April 30, was the fate of the dwindling Beverly and Bathurst caribou herds, which can be found around the area where the mine project would be located.
Discussions largely focused on how to — or if it will even be possible — avoid further damage to the Beverly and Bathurst caribou herds.
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