Worries mount over what busy mining road in Nunavut could mean for caribou migration – by Sara Frizzell (CBC News North – August 29, 2017)


A vehicle could travel every 6 minutes from the Whale Tail pit project to the Meadowbank mine

Agnico Eagle’s proposed expansion of operations near its Meadowbank gold mine near Baker Lake, Nunavut, is facing opposition. The Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA), the Government of Nunavut and the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization have all expressed concern over how a roadway connecting a new open pit mine to processing facilities at Meadowbank will affect caribou migration.

Their concerns appeared in their final written submissions to the Nunavut Impact Review Board, submitted in advance of the final public hearing on the project, which begins on Sept.19 in Baker Lake. Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. had an Aug. 28 deadline to submit its written response to concerns before the hearing.

The new mining operation — the Whale Tail pit — is about 50 kilometres northwest of Meadowbank. It would operate as an open pit mine for between three and four years, and requires a road connecting it to milling facilities at Meadowbank. Agnico Eagle expects mining could begin as early as 2019.

Most mining traffic in Nunavut

Approximately 8.3 million tonnes of ore would be transported to Meadowbank via the access road. “Caribou are already being deflected around the [all-weather access road] possibly to the north of Meadowbank to where the project haul road will be located,” the KIA’s submission reads.

The KIA said the proposed road would have more frequent traffic than any other mining road in Nunavut. Based on the proposed amount of passengers, it estimates a vehicle will travel down the road as often as every six minutes — 75 per cent of which would be trucks.

The KIA says caribou have already shifted their migratory routes around the Meadowbank mine, and it suggests the new haul road will bisect that route.

For the rest of this article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/caribou-whale-tail-mine-pit-1.4260490