Sabina points to local support; asks minister to OK Back River
Last updated 7/31/2016 at Noon
Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. July 21 said it has asked the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to reject the Nunavut Impact Review Board recommendation that Sabina' Back River gold project not proceed to the next phase of permitting at this time.
NIRB made its recommendation in a report that follows an environmental assessment process during which the review board coordinated and reviewed Sabina's draft and final environmental impact statements, including numerous technical studies and reports.
Sabina said its engagement and consultation during this process was extensive and included community members, hunters and trappers' organizations, hamlets councils, advisory committees, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, territorial governments and federal regulatory agencies.
The process culminated in a six-day public hearing in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, which was attended by representatives of all interested parties.
At the end of the hearings, Sabina said there was strong Inuit support expressed for the project.
Additionally, all agency subject matter experts were satisfied with Sabina's plans and proposals for the project and recommended to the NIRB that the project move to the next phase of permitting.
"As we worked through the NIRB process we came to know and respect the people and the environment of the Kitikmeot Region and Nunavut.
We also have developed a positive working relationship with the KIA, who we have found to be transparent and business-minded, while also protecting the best interests of their constituents.
Throughout this process, we have been focused on responsible mining in the Kitikmeot and appreciate all the input that we have received to assist us in our planning." said Sabina President and CEO Bruce McLeod.
"We believed we understood the issues we had to address in the final hearings and had come to resolution on these issues.
Unfortunately, Sabina believes that the NIRB recommendation does not reflect this support nor the evidence presented during this process." The Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs has three main options available to her regarding the NIRB recommendation not to proceed with Back River permitting at this time: reject the recommendation; refer the report back to NIRB for further review; or accept the recommendation.
Sabina believes there are strong grounds for the minister to reject the NIRB recommendation and refer it back to NIRB to consider terms and conditions for a project certificate.
Sabina contends the NIRB report does not fully consider support of the Back River gold project or fully recognize the socio-economic benefits the project offers; and it reaches conclusions that are not consistent with the evidence submitted by experts, responsible government agencies, and the KIA on the monitoring and mitigation measures.
Whatever the minister's decision is, Sabina said it is confident that it can address the concerns raised in the NIRB report.