Review board recommended in June Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.’s Back River Gold Mine project not proceed
The Government of Nunavut and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association are joining a chorus of voices asking the minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to send a gold mining proposal back to the Nunavut Impact Review Board for further review after the board suggested the project not proceed.
In June, the board recommended Sabina Gold & Silver Corp.’s Back River gold mine not proceed to the licensing stage over concerns about climate change and potential impacts to the Bathurst caribou herd.
The N.W.T. government estimates the herd has declined 50 per cent since 2012. The Back River property is located 95 kilometres southeast of Bathurst Inlet, Nunavut, and holds an estimated 3.4 million ounces of gold. Sabina estimates it could employ up to 900 people.
It’s now up to Minister Carolyn Bennett to decide what happens next. Under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement she can accept the board’s recommendation, send it back to the board for further consideration, or push the project through on the grounds it’s of national or regional importance.
Sabina has already asked the minister to reconsider the board’s decision. “We believe this NIRB report could have significant negative effects as to how investors view risk in Nunavut, for this project as well as others,” reads a Sabina report to the minister in July.
The company argues any concerns raised by the review board can be addressed in the regulatory and licensing process, the next step if the project were to proceed.
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