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Gold mine fate now with Ottawa

John Curran
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Mar 13/06) - The Nunavut Impact Review Board has thrown its support behind Miramar's proposed Doris North gold mine on its Hope Bay property.

The board submitted a 102-page report and 89 pages of appendices to federal Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Minister Jim Prentice, March 7.

NNSL Photo/graphic

  • Doris North is located approximately 200 km of Cambridge Bay.
  • Miramar estimates it will cost $39.3 million to build the mine and require 68 construction workers.
  • The first phase, over the mine's two-year life, is expected to produce 311,000 ounces of gold.
  • The cost of producing the gold is $109US/oz. Gold was selling $550US/oz.

  • "The report contains an assessment of the Doris North Gold Project and its impacts and determines that the project should proceed," writes acting chairperson Elizabeth Copland in her accompanying one-page letter to the minister.

    Prentice now has 90 days to review the package and decide whether he'll issue a project certificate to Miramar.

    "This is excellent news," said Kugluktuk resident Alex Buchan, Miramar's manager of community relations. "Hopefully the minister will take the board's recommendation to heart."

    The minister's blessing isn't the final regulatory hurdle remaining in Hope Bay's path - it's one of 11. While four others are substantially complete and await little more than rubber stamp approval, here is a summary of the other six and the organizations involved:

    • a water licence from the Nunavut Water Board;
    • fisheries authorization from the department of Fisheries and Oceans;
    • a foreshore lease from INAC;
    • an explosives permit from Natural Resources Canada;
    • an amendment to the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations to allow the discharge of mine tailings into Tail Lake from Environment Canada; and
    • a Navigable Water Protection Act permit from Transport Canada.

    While there are no permits required that focus specifically on wildlife, Buchan said there are still safeguards that will be met.

    "We'll be working with the Kitikmeot Inuit Association and the territorial Department of Environment to finalize our wildlife monitoring and mitigation plan," he said. "If they're not in agreement with what we're going to do, nothing will move forward."

    The approvals process will begin only after the minister makes his decision and last roughly six or seven months.

    "That will mean we can ship construction materials during the summer of 2007," he said, adding construction would mainly occur in the latter half of next year. "Production will begin in the early months of 2008 if all goes well."