Nunavut, mining company, link arms to improve Kivalliq quality of life – by Beth Brown (Nunatsiaq News – September 21, 2017)

GN and AEM name 10 priority areas, but mention no budget to pay for it

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. wants to do more than just dig for gold in Nunavut. The multinational corporation, which operates mine sites in Nunavut’s Kivalliq region, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Nunavut Sept. 20, pledging to collaborate with the territory on 10 high-profile “priority areas.”

Those areas are: health, education, training, economic development, infrastructure, housing, heritage resources, wildlife, public safety, and climate change. “None of those are directly mining related,” Agnico Eagle president Ammar Al-Joundi said during a media event at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly in Iqaluit.

But, they are areas that are “absolutely essential” to good mining in the long run, he said, calling the MOU and investment in Nunavummiut all part of the company’s business strategy. The MOU came with no budget or specific funding source. But a spokesperson for the mining company, Dale Coffin, said later that a working group will be struck to further the memorandum’s goals and that any related costs would be borne by Agnico Eagle or the GN.

Agnico Eagle plans to invest $1.5 billion to renew and increase its mining operations in Nunavut, through development of its Meliadine mine site and Whale Tail gold deposit. The mining company also owns the Meadowbank gold mine, north of Baker Lake, which has been operating since 2009 and expects to wind down next year, in 2018.

And if Nunavummiut are willing, the company is hoping to develop more sites in the coming years, Al-Joundi said. “If you really want to be a good miner, you’ve got to be there for a long time. You’ve got to know the communities. You’ve got to know the suppliers. You’ve got to work with the contractors and you’ve got to understand that what really makes successful long term investment is having the community buy in. It has to be to their benefit,” he said.

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