Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut April 19, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Nunavut regulators nix Agnico Eagle’s hovercraft plans

Pilot project should be "modified or abandoned"

JANE GEORGE
You won't see hovercraft, like this one, which are widely used in Russia's Arctic regions, this summer in Nunavut, as Agnico Eagle Mining Ltd. had proposed. Hovercraft move by using blowers to produce a large volume of air below the hull that is slightly above atmospheric pressure. This pressure difference produces lift which causes the hull to float above the running surface, but the Nunavut Impact Review Board said a pilot project to bring in hovercraft should be
You won't see hovercraft, like this one, which are widely used in Russia's Arctic regions, this summer in Nunavut, as Agnico Eagle Mining Ltd. had proposed. Hovercraft move by using blowers to produce a large volume of air below the hull that is slightly above atmospheric pressure. This pressure difference produces lift which causes the hull to float above the running surface, but the Nunavut Impact Review Board said a pilot project to bring in hovercraft should be "modified or abandoned."

The Nunavut Impact Review Board has determined that a pilot project floated by Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. to test hovercraft in the Kivalliq region should be “modified or abandoned.”

In its April 17 screening decision, the NIRB said the use of hovercraft in Nunavut needs more research and that the mining company should produce a new proposal that addresses public concerns about hovercrafts and what could be “unacceptable impacts on wildlife habitat or Inuit harvest activities.”

Agnico Eagle had wanted to bring two hovercraft to Nunavut’s Kivalliq region this summer.

The company wanted to use these hovercraft to transport personnel and light cargo on the Amaruq Exploration Access Road near its Meadowbank gold mine, on the winter roads and on designated trails to drilling properties on its Amaruq property on a year-round basis.

But in its decision, the NIRB said “the project proposal as currently designed is likely to cause significant public concern, and is likely to result in significant adverse ecosystemic and socioeconomic impacts.”

In its project proposal, Agnico Eagle had said the hovercraft would produce less noise and damage to the land—and, unlike permanent trails and roads, the use of hovercraft would not put additional hunting pressure on caribou, “thus reducing the predicted cumulative impacts on caribou.”

Hovercraft can be used on water and land, taking people or industrial loads over small and large rivers, lakes, swamps, snow, soil, packed ice bogs, tundra, and coastal seas throughout the year.

And hovercraft have resolved numerous logistical and transportation problems in Siberia and the Far East, Agnico Eagle said in its project proposal to the NIRB.

The company said overall, the cumulative effects of the hovercraft “are not assessed as significant.”

But the NIRB, which received various comments, including one from the Kivalliq Inuit Association, which said it did “not support this project at all,” wasn’t convinced.

The NIRB recommended in its screening decision to the minister that Agnico Eagle conduct more community consultations and work with the KIA and others “to reflect the potential for impacts specifically associated with hovercraft use.”

The board also asked for mitigation measures in any subsequent submissions for the protection of caribou, fish, birds, and other wildlife, and their respective habitats.

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(16) Comments:

#1. Posted by Kia expert on April 19, 2017

Yup, kia are arm chair experts, they want all the development without any impact progress, i dont really know what kia does anyways, alot of funding for alot of hot air.

#2. Posted by NorthStar on April 19, 2017

Good call, hope the minister will allow for noise level studies to be done before approving the proposal.

#3. Posted by mike on April 19, 2017

announcement next month Sakuu purchased 2 hovercraft everything will be fine,ditch the challengers,

#4. Posted by Robin Paine on April 20, 2017

For those interested in these fascinating machines, there is a 700 page book, with 450 pictures called ‘On a Cushion of Air’, (available through Amazon and Kindle), which tells the story of Christopher Cockerell’s discovery that heavy weights could be supported on a cushion of low pressure air, and the development of the hovercraft by those who were there, from the very early days through to the heyday of the giant 165-ton SRN.4, which crossed the English Channel starting in 1968 carrying 30 cars and 254 passengers at speeds in excess of 75 knots on a calm day.

#5. Posted by Air Head on April 20, 2017

“likely to cause significant public concern, and is likely to result in significant adverse ecosystemic and socioeconomic impacts.”

Result in socioeconomic impacts? Seriously?

Children will go hungry, the women’s shelters will be full. Why? Because of the hovercraft.

They can just write whatever they want in their decisions I guess, hardly anyone will ever read it and no one will ever challenge it.

Looking for an example of regulation stultifying innovation? Look no further!

#6. Posted by get -a-grip on April 20, 2017

committees exist in Nunavut.
With so many people providing advice on issues. At some point at least some problem should be solved. May be something like the killing of Caribou in Kivalliq for profit. Or a big one oh say getting the literacy rates up to a national standard.

#7. Posted by Perspectives on April 20, 2017

Successfully used in Alaska

#8. Posted by Perspectives on April 20, 2017

Used successfully in Alaska.

#9. Posted by pissed off on April 20, 2017

The biggest argument against the hovercraft yet one that nobody wants to admits is that there would be no massive and very lucrative heavy equipment contracts to be had by the usual suspects in the Keewatin. ( you pick your vilain)

It is as stupid to be against hovercrafts as to be against helicopters or airplanes as they would bother the birds!!

Nothing is less armful for the environment than these machines. You think building access roads is not noisy and messy??

Thanks

#10. Posted by Just wondering on April 20, 2017

They already have the roads, they already have the vehicles on those roads, how exactly would hovercraft improve things, and for whom?

#11. Posted by NO Access Road on April 20, 2017

They have a road from Baker to Meadowbank.  Amaruq Project doesn’t have access road.

#12. Posted by boris pasternak on April 20, 2017

please don’t compare ussr to canada. far east siberian tundra is all rip-up by vista huts or tank transportation tracked vehicles, they have no regulations over there so ae is comparing nunavut to there? rotors wouldn’t last to long in this terrain, let alone dust kicking to air and sent off to tundra all around. goodness ae; are you in rush to copy 3rd world regulations for the sake of the bottom line? not in my backyard….

#13. Posted by Justin on April 20, 2017

Interesting, the previous poster (Pasternak) doesn’t want the company to copy 3rd world regulations.

1. USSR doesn’t exist anymore.

2. Nunavut IS a 3rd world country being propped up by billions in tax dollars coming in from the south. 

3. The various Inuit associations have no concerns about the well-being or future of Nunavut. They are getting paid and living quite well. They want more money, it’s always about more money.

4. The Inuit are harder on the land than anyone. I’ve spent a lot of time in Nunavut. The trash, litter, skidoos sitting in rivers and lakes, it’s a sad sham.

5. Every study around knows and confirms that hovercrafts are the MOST gentle type of vehicle on the land. If you don’t allow these, then don’t allow anything, including the skidoos and ATVs that serve as the main forms of transportation for the Inuit, and are among the worst polluting machines on the planet.

When will the hypocrisy end and the corrupted Nunavut committees be disbanded?

#14. Posted by boris pasternak on April 21, 2017

#14 - eskimo or inuit, ussr or otherwise (figure of speech), what’s the difference? trash/land fills in most canadian towns, think before you write justin…i would say nunavut outside municipal boundaries is very clean, look at your alleys in major centers, you can be infected by stepping on the needles, let along dirt in the city streets, debris or otherwise. nunavut appears as third world by the choice of canadians and ruling parties at federal level. look at you many bodies; peta, skin heads, kkk, arian nation…blah blah blah…most of the world has seen in these proofs, where is yours on inuit orgs?

#15. Posted by Local on April 21, 2017

#13,

You hit the nail. RIAs are dysfunctional organizations with hopelessly conflicted objectives. For example, encouraging development of IOL but also speaking for environmental issues. Hypocrisy is everywhere but especially in the inuit orgs.
Hopefully we will see change with the new generation of leaders coming up, like Pj And Aluki.

#16. Posted by Colin on April 22, 2017

The decision SEEMS absurd. Usually for this kind of report there’s a link to it on this website. But there isn’t one and I can’t find the decision on the Review Board’s website either. Is that because it’s too embarrassingly irrational for public consumption?

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