Nunavut: Bathurst Inlet Port and Road Redux?

The Bathurst Inlet Port and Road Project appears to be back on the table.
In a letter dated March 30, 2012, Michel Boucher of Xstrata Zinc Canada and Matthew Pickard  of Sabina Gold and Silver Corp.  indicated their companies’ intention to re-engage the BIPAR project and submit a revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement to the Nunavut Impact Review Board before the end of 2012.
According to the company,

The revised BIPR project that will be submitted to NIRB will have essentially the same functions and benefits as those described in the Project Rationale of the BIPR Draft EIS’s Executive Summary submitted in 2007; also, the majority of the proposed infrastructure for the new BIPR Project submission would be very similar to the previous one. The BIPR will increase certainty of supplies along with level of business activities in Western Nunavut and will lower overall costs of supplies, which are all positive aspects for the Kitikmeot Region.

Changes to the project will include a new construction schedule and changes to the cumulative effects assessment based on a new list of potential project users to be provided at a later time.
In response to the companies’ request, the Nunavut Impact Review Board has retracted its previous request to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development that the impact review process be terminated.
The next steps for the project remain unclear. According to the Board:

Given the significant lapse in time since the BIPR Review commenced (2004) and was suspended (2008), the recent change in ownership for the project and the need to confirm the scope of the current project proposal, the NIRB believes that additional discussion with the proponent and responsible authorities would be warranted prior to confirming the best process and requirements for potentially re-engaging the Review process.

The Board has indicated it will assess whether the updated development plans are consistent with the earlier scope of the project. A more comprehensive project description has been requested from the company, and the Board has asked for confirmation from AANDC that intervener funding arrangements will remain in place.
Sabina Gold and Silver Corp. purchased the BIPR project from the Kitikmeot Corp. and other Inuit corporate promoters in November, 2011.

Photo credit: “Nunavut coat of arms” © 2007 Lebatihem, Creative Commons license.

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