NIRB launches internal review of Meliadine’s final environmental impact statement
FEIS should become public by the end of the month
The Nunavut Impact Review Board now has its hands on Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.’s final environmental impact statement, or “FEIS,” for its proposed Meliadine gold mine in the Kivalliq region.
The NIRB said it received a hard copy of the FEIS May 6, launching an internal review of Agnico Eagle’s submission, the NIRB said May 7.
Agnico Eagle handed over its draft environmental impact statement for its Meliadine project in early 2013.
The proposed gold mine, to be connected to Rankin Inlet by a 24-kilometre all-weather road, would operate for at least 13 years, based on the company’s current estimate of its gold deposits.
Agnico Eagle plans to extract gold from a series of open pits and will mine one deposit using an underground shaft.
Then, an on-site mill will break ore into small particles so they can be rinsed with cyanide to remove the gold, which they’ll refine into gold bars to be transported to the South by air.
And the mine promises jobs for the Kivalliq region: 1,000 workers to be hired on during the mine’s three-year construction period and about 700 workers during production, with about 350 workers on site at any given time.
But Inuit in Nunavut have given the environmental aspects of the Meliadine project a mixed welcome; both Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Kivalliq Inuit Association expressed concerns about protecting caribou herds that migrate through the region.
The two Inuit organizations also said the draft environmental impact statement didn’t go far enough incorporating traditional knowledge or Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit.
With the final statement in hand, the NIRB had begun its internal review, which will be followed by a technical review period to allow stakeholders to do their own analysis of the FEIS.
The NIRB said it hopes to complete the review process — an indication that the FEIS has been accepted — by May 21, by which point the FEIS would be made public.
Despite Agnico Eagle’s move to slash $80 million in spending to Meliadine’s 2014 budget, the company still hopes to move through the permitting process and receive its project certificate this year
Agnico Eagle says Meliadine could move into production by 2019, if its board decides to move the project forward.