Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik June 10, 2014 - 2:17 pm

Quebec consultation hearings on uranium to stop in Kuujjuaq

Agency to conduct public question and answer session

SARAH ROGERS
This map shows the sites of uranium deposits and early exploration projects in Nunavik. (IMAGE COURTESY OF THE BAPE)
This map shows the sites of uranium deposits and early exploration projects in Nunavik. (IMAGE COURTESY OF THE BAPE)

Nunavimmiut will get a chance to weigh in on potential uranium exploration in the region during a set of upcoming consultations.

Quebec’s Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) will stop in Kuujjuaq June 12 and June 13 as part of its province-wide tour to gauge the public’s opinion on uranium mining.

The BAPE is an independent agency that consults the public and then advises the provincial government on potential environmental impacts of a given project.

In Nunavik, the Kativik Environmental Advisory Committee will help run the public forum, which will serve as a question and answer session for participants.

In the mid to late 2000s, the Ungava Bay region emerged as the country’s newest uranium district, with companies like Azimut and Areva staking claims south of Kuujjuaq and Kangiqsualujjuaq.

When Azimut first starting exploring the region in 2006, there were no known uranium “showings” in Nunavik, an indication of a potentially economic concentration of a mineral.

Today, there are two early-stage exploration projects underway in the region: Azimut’s Rae North and Daniel Lake properties, southeast of Kangiqsualujjuaq.

Azimut holds another three uranium properties in the same area: North Rae, Kangiq and Burrel Lake.

Along Nunavik’s southern boundary, another mining exploration company, Waseco, is in the advanced exploration stage at its Dieter Lake uranium deposit and other properties, about 140 to 280 kilometres southeast of Kuujjuaq.

The Dieter Lake deposit covers about 8,000 hectares and is thought to have resources of up to 110 million pounds of uranium, sometimes accompanied by copper, gold, silver, lead and zinc.

But there are several hundred “mineralized occurrences” or identified deposits of uranium throughout the region. While most are clustered around the George River, there are handfuls of deposits that have been identified in central Nunavik and near the community of Umiujaq.

You can see a map of uranium deposits and exploration across Quebec here.

The upcoming forum in Kuujjuaq is actually a pre-consultation or first phase of public consultation, which will help identify the issues specific to Nunavik.

The BAPE will then return to Nunavik in September 2014 to address comments and concerns in more detail.

The commentary gathered from Nunavik and from communities across Quebec will be complied into a report, which will be delivered to the provincial ministry of sustainable development, environment and the fight against climate change by May 2015.

The report is meant to give Quebec a better idea of where the public stands on uranium mining, although it’s unclear if the process will help Nunavimmiut take a position.

Although Inuit organizations like the Inuit Circumpolar Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami have come out against uranium mining on Inuit territory, Makivik Corp. said in 2011 that the region hasn’t closed the door on uranium.

The BAPE consultations are being help at Kuujjuaq’s Kattitavik town hall June 12 starting at 7:00 p.m. and again June 13 at 9:30 a.m.

Simultaneous translation will be available in English, Inuktitut and French.

For Nunavimmiut living outside of Kuujjuaq, the consultations will be broadcast live from the BAPE website at http://www.bape.gouv.qc.ca.

For more information or to share a question or comment, contact the Kativik Environmental Advisory Committee.

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