Nunavut government, Kitikmeot Inuit move ahead on ambitious road-port – by Jim Bell Nunatsiaq News – August 25, 2017)

Despite no firm funding, no firm users, Grays Bay enters environmental screening

Though there’s no firm guarantee that anyone will use it and no firm guarantee the federal government will put up the cash to pay for it, the ambitious Grays Bay Road and Port Project in western Nunavut will now undergo an environmental screening by the Nunavut Impact Review Board, the project’s backers announced Aug. 24.

The Government of Nunavut and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association teamed up in 2016 to push for the Grays Bay scheme after the Chinese-owned mining firm MMG Canada said their lucrative base metal deposits aren’t viable without a road and port that are too costly for the company to build and run on its own.

In the first phase of Grays Bay, the GN and KIA would build a deepwater port at Coronation Gulf on the Arctic Ocean and a 230-kilometre all-season road between the port and the site of the abandoned Jericho diamond mine. (See map at the bottom of this page.) About 10 to 20 permanent staff would be located at the port site and up to three permanent staff would be located at Jericho. Road and port maintenance costs would amount to around $3 million a year.

To keep the road maintained, the road’s owners would have to quarry between 50,000 and 100,000 cubic metres of gravel each year. That means permanent quarries with heavy equipment and rock crushers, located at various spots along the road, would become permanent features of the project.

From Jericho, the all-season road would hook up with the Tibbitt-Contwoyto winter road, which offers a seasonal cold-weather route to Yellowknife. The second phase, likely at some point in the future, would see a 95-kilometre all-season road running from Jericho to the Northwest Territories border, where it would hook up with an all-season road to Yellowknife which the Government of the Northwest Territories wants to build in the future.

The Grays Bay proponents want the federal government to give them up to 75 per cent of the nearly $500 million the project is expected to cost, but Ottawa has yet to hand over the money. Industry Minister Amarjeet Sohi said in the House of Commons last fall the Grays Bay project is not ready for federal funding.

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