Kitikmeot Corp. makes lemonade out of lemons
BIPAR rejection “not the end of the world”
CAMBRIDGE BAY— Kitikmeot Corp. president Charlie Lyall plans to make lemonade out of lemon-like news that’s thrown a big obstacle into the path of the Bathurst Inlet port and road project.
“We need to keep plugging along, and there’s still lots of work to do. It’s not the end of the world,” Lyall said Feb. 14 about the recently-publicized decision of the Chinese-owned Minerals and Metals Group to not back the port and road project.
Lyall and others in the Kitikmeot Inuit associations have promoted the BIPAR idea for more than 15 years.
“It’ll be on the back burner until the opportunity [to move ahead] arises,” he said.
Calling MMG’s decision a “hiccup” in the BIPAR project, Lyall said he learned earlier this year that the mining giant’s pre-feasibility study did not back the Bathurst project that calls for a 211-km. road to Conwoyto Lake end near MMG’s mineral-rich Izok Lake property.
In its feasibility study, MMG looked at BIPAR and two other road options, which would see zinc and copper ore produced at the mine, located 250 kilometres southeast of Kugluktuk, transported directly up to Coronation Gulf, bypassing the BIPAR route.
While the mine at Izok could go into production as early as 2017, BIPAR may take longer, Lyall admitted.
MMG isn’t the first owner of Izok to be lukewarm about BIPAR.
Previous owners of the mine, Zinifex Ltd. and Oz Minerals, had also decided to build its own port and a road to Gray’s Bay or Coronation Gulf.
However, even if Izok’s owners won’t partner with KC on the road and port at Bathurst Inlet, Lyall is certain the project will move ahead one day.
And, MMG will still enter into an Inuit impact and benefits agreement with Kitikmeot Inuit, a deal which will offer plenty of work to KC’s subsidiaries and Inuit beneficiaries at Izok.
Expense was the main reason that MMG decided against BIPAR, Lyall said.
The port facility, 35 kilometres to the south of the community of Bathurst Inlet, would include the construction of a dock, 18 large fuel storage tanks, the 211-km. road to Conwoyto Lake, a 1,200-metre airstrip and two camps for about 200 workers.
Its cost was estimated at $270 million a few years ago, but like everything else, the price tag has risen, said Lyall, although he did not say how much it would cost to build BIPAR today.