From Dr. Gordon Edwards:
Background: January 27 2016
Uranium is the key element underlying all nuclear fission technology. It is essential for nuclear weapons and nuclear reactor technology.
Last April, groups attending the World Uranium Symposium in Quebec City joined with the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War to work together towards banning uranium mining worldwide — a campaign known as UBAN. [See http://www.ccnr.org/Declaration_WUS_2015.pdf ]
Two of Canada’s ten provinces — British Columbia and Nova Scotia — have already banned uranium mining permanently, and Quebec has imposed a temporary moratorium on uranium mining pending a decision to turn that moratorium into a permanent ban, as recommended by last year’s report of BAPE (Bureau des audiences publiques sur l’environnement). BAPE is the body set up to advise government on matters of policy affecting the environment.
Areva, the French corporation that is touted as the world’s largest nuclear company, has been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy in recent years because of monumental losses due to dramatic failures (see http://tinyurl.com/mbjqllm). Nevertheless, the government of Nunavut — the newest, largest, northernmost, and least populous territory of Canada — is being pressured to grant Areva Canada permission to mine uranium near the Inuit community of Baker Lake. This, despite the recent recommendation of the Nunavut Impact Review Board against proceeding with the Kiggavik project.
One of the most renowned centres of Inuit art, Baker Lake is situated on the western shore of Hudson’s Bay. The Kiggavik uranium mine would require mining in permafrost conditions not far from the breeding grounds of one the most important caribou herds that Inuit hunters have depended upon for countless thousands of years. After years of deliberation (see http://ccnr.org/Baker_Lake_summary.pdf and http://ccnr.org/Vakil_Harvey_letter_2010.pdf) the Baker Lake community is opposed to the project on environmental grounds.
The following letter has been sent to the Canadian Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. It was penned by Eric Ukpatiku on behalf of the Nunavut-based citizen’s group Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit, referred to as Makita. Please read the letter and consider adding your voice or the voice of your organization in support of the expressed wishes of the Baker Lake community and the findings of the NIRB panel. The newspaper article that follows the text of the letter adds further context.
Minister, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
AREVA Canada Inc.’s Proposed Kiggavik Uranium Mine
Dear Ms. Bennett,
In the coming weeks, your government will make a decision that will have major repercussions for the future of Nunavut.
In May 2015, the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) released its final hearing report, recommending the Kiggavik uranium mine not be approved at this time. AREVA Resources Canada Inc. (AREVA) then wrote to your predecessor, requesting the Minister reject the NIRB recommendation. This was followed by a series of letters – from the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization (HTO), Kivalliq Wildlife Board, Aqiggiq HTO, Hamlet of Chesterfield Inlet, Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board, and Mining Watch Canada – requesting the Minister uphold the NIRB recommendation and reject the Kiggavik proposal.
I hope you will carefully consider the facts and arguments presented in the NIRB final hearing report and subsequent correspondence. Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit believes that the public record demonstrates that AREVA’s proposal should not be approved at this time, and that AREVA’s request to overturn the NIRB decision was unfounded and inappropriate.
Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit also welcomed the statements made by the Hon. Hunter Tootoo during the election campaign. In an interview with Nunatsiaq News, Mr.Tootoo promised that, under the Liberal Party, it would be “the government that grants the licences, but the communities that grant permission.” The NIRB report and submissions to your predecessor clearly show that the most affected communities have not granted permission for this project to go ahead. Mr. Tootoo also told CBC News that the “Liberal party will go along with decisions made by a regulatory body without political
Many Inuit from Nunavut heard these promises and elected Mr. Tootoo. I urge you to keep the promises made during the recent campaign, and reject AREVA’s proposed Kiggavik uranium mine.
c.c.: Hunter Tootoo, Member of Parliament for Nunavut
Elizabeth Copeland, Chair, Nunavut Impact Review Boar
Makita to Bennett: respect NIRB’s advice on uranium mine
Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit wants Liberals to keep election promise
THOMAS ROHNER, Nunatsiaq on-line, Jan 25 2016
From Dr. Gordon Edwards: