08EN001: Nunavut Impact Review Board Approves Uranium Exploration Proposal for North Thelon Basin and Beverly Caribou Calving Area
by admin ~ April 4th, 2008
Located 155 kilometers northwest of Baker Lake, Bayswater Uranium proposes a two year exploration program that includes 30 drill holes and 10,000 meters of diamond drilling in the North Thelon Basin. According to the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board (BQCMB), “Permit 2 block, the camp location, and the airstrip location are all proposed on the traditional calving ground of Beverly caribou” (PDF). Other proposed blocks are located in key post-calving areas and along spring migration routes for the herd. The BQCMB would like to see a regional assessment of the long term cumulative impacts of mineral exploration and other land use activities on the Beverly Herd, and “on the sustainability of traditional lifestyles and livelihoods for northern communities.”
The Nunavut Impact Review Board is mandated to review development proposals, and administer screening options on the basis of potential environmental and socio-economic impacts. The Bayswater project description (PDF) includes drilling plans, camp area, existing airstrip, waste and sewage management, mitigation proposals for disturbance to caribou herds, bulk fuel storage, and reclamation plans. Four letters were received from “interested parties” on the proposal. Despite long standing opposition to uranium exploration proposals on the Thelon River from nearby communities outside of the Nunavut Settlement Area, the Review Board decided to approve the proposal without an environmental review, and forwarded it’s Screening Decision (dated Feb. 22, 2008) to the Federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs (the Hon. Chuck Strahl) for final authorization.