Agnico Eagle’s open-pit offshoot from Nunavut gold mine gets federal ministerial approval – by Sara Frizzell (CBC News North – February 19, 2018)

Production at the mine will begin in mid-2019

The federal minister for Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs has signed off on a new mining project near Baker Lake, Nunavut. Agnico Eagle’s Whale Tail project is an open-pit gold mine, expected to operate for three to four years, starting next year.

It will be connected to the company’s Meadowbank mine by a 65-kilometre road, so it can use existing processing facilities. Initially, local groups were concerned about caribou crossing the road, but after a final hearing, the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) signed off on the project with 64 specific conditions, many of which focus on managing environmental impacts.

In her approval, Carolyn Bennett noted elevated arsenic levels could still be an issue in runoff from water storage and in the fill water for the proposed pit lake, to be created after the mine closes. Therefore, she has insisted on careful monitoring.

The pit in Agnico Eagle’s Amaruq satellite deposit is expected to be operational until 2022, with close-out operations running an additional seven years.

With the responsible federal ministers signing off on the report submitted to them by NIRB, the review board now has 30 days to issue a project certificate. Once the certificate is issued, Agnico Eagle can pursue the necessary permits to start construction. Dale Coffin, a spokesperson for Agnico Eagle, says the company expects to begin construction this summer.

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