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Tahera, Inuit agree

Stephan Burnett
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Dec 08/03) - It's was a lot of work between the two negotiating teams but the Kitikmeot Inuit Association and Tahera Corporation have banged out an agreement in principle for employment, training, business opportunities, conservation for culture and water rights.

NNSL Photo

Peter Gillan is fairly new to the chairman and CEO position for Tahera Corporation but it doesn't seem to be slowing him down. - photo courtesy of Tahera Corporation

The agreement centres on the development of the Jericho diamond development.

The agreement in principle was sent to the Kitikmeot Inuit Association for formal approval last Friday, said Charlie Evalik, president of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association.

Tahera Corporation's Jericho diamond mine development is the first proposed diamond mining project in Nunavut to achieve an Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement.

The agreement will ensure that local employment, training and business opportunities arising from construction and operation are provided to the Kitikmeot Inuit.

"It's clearly a major milestone in terms of progress for this project," said Peter Gillan, Tahera CEO and chairman.

Community hearings postponed

The next step in Tahera's climb toward production is the community hearing process.

Tahera is hoping it will get regulatory approval from the Nunavut Impact Review Board for the Jericho Project within the first three months of 2004.

Community hearings set for the first week of December in Cambridge Bay, Kugluktuk and Gjoa Haven, have been delayed due to the influenza outbreak.

"We think that's certainly proper. We understand the delay and we certainly don't begrudge them of that," said Gillan.

"The deferral of the hearings will not impact our overall timetable. We're hoping the hearings will take about a week."

After the hearings, the Nunavut Impact Review Board will deliberate and then the project proposal will be referred to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

The agreement is also significant from the perspective of financiers, said Gillan.

"I can't take a lot of credit being relatively the new guy in the corporation. I have to provide credit to the Tahera team. The negotiations were handled very well. The talks with the KIA have been very constructive, progressive and positive," said Gillan.

"The Jericho project is a real robust project that is going to be built. We made applications to make that happen."