(Iqaluit, Nunavut – June 27, 2016) The NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines (the “Chamber”) is committed to provide the perspective of the exploration and mining industry to stakeholders and planning partners during the Nunavut Planning Commission’s land use planning process. The latest Draft Nunavut Land Use Plan was released on June 23, 2016.
“Despite what the Nunavut Planning Commission implies, no definitive link has been established between the current decline in caribou populations across the North and exploration or mining,” says Gary Vivian, President of the Chamber. “What has been presented in the latest version of the Nunavut Land Use Plan depicts questionable protection measures on top of questionable boundaries.”
The Chamber agrees with the Government of Nunavut’s position that, with effective mitigation measures and monitoring programs, mineral exploration and development activities can coexist with sustainable development in caribou calving grounds and access corridors. In addition, the Chamber is comfortable that the existing Nunavut regulatory regime allows for all stakeholders and communities to participate in the review and shaping of well-designed mineral exploration and development projects that are protective of wildlife.
“We recognize that mining projects in Nunavut may interact with caribou,” explains Vivian, “however the Nunavut Planning Commission’s assertion that ‘the impacts of exploration and development cannot be effectively mitigated in core-calving areas’ is simply false.”
Caribou protection measures have been applied across Nunavut for many years and have been developed through a regulated and collaborative process with input from governments, regulatory bodies, Regional Inuit Associations, Hunter and Trapper Associations, communities, and industry. Nunavut’s minerals industry is leading many efforts in studying and monitoring the effects of exploration and mining activities on caribou. Industry continually adapts to new information and new approaches to monitoring and reducing those impacts, and has shared this information with land use planning partners.
The health of Nunavut’s economy is linked to mineral development, which is its economic advantage and worthy of protection. Blocking exploration and mining when there is no link to the decline of caribou would unnecessarily compromise the development of other opportunities for Nunavut and Nunavummiut, without helping the caribou herds.
For more information on the NWT and Nunavut mining industries, contact Elizabeth Kingston, General Manager – Nunavut at Tel: 867-979-5291 or email: [email protected]