BQCMB calls for halt to mineral exploration on caribou calving grounds and cancellation of permits

June 20, 2012

Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board

STONEWALL, Manitoba (June 12, 2012) – The Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board
(BQCMB) is alarmed that mineral exploration is being allowed in the heart of the Qamanirjuaq caribou
calving ground, and is calling for cancellation of existing permits, a review of the situation, and action
to make sure the same situation isn’t allowed to occur again.

“We need to repeat and emphasize our clear message to governments and regulators that mineral
exploration on calving grounds is not appropriate,” says BQCMB chairman Earl Evans, “The BQCMB
has to make sure that no more permits are issued for work on the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq caribou
calving grounds, especially now when it looks as if both herds may be in decline.”

BQCMB board members are concerned by Anconia Resources Corporation’s proposed exploration
activities on the Qamanirjuaq caribou herd’s calving and post-calving areas.

Anconia’s “Marce Project” is located in the Victory Lake area of Nunavut, mid-way between Arviat and
Baker Lake. The company plans to start work in mid-July when the area is likely to be occupied by an
abundance of vulnerable caribou cows and calves seeking critical summer forage, says Evans.

A one-year licence was issued by the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) with the support of the Nunavut
Impact Review Board (NIRB) which recommended the KIA issue a land use licence with “specific
terms and conditions” for the portion of Anconia`s project area on Inuit-owned land.

A second application by Anconia for a land use permit for the portion of its project on federal Crown
land was determined by the NIRB to be exempt from its screening process, and NIRB recommended
that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) issue a permit. AANDC is
currently processing that permit application.

The BQCMB believes that the NIRB’s recommendations that two permits be issued to Anconia without
a full review was not appropriate because of the likely detrimental effects of this project on the
Qamanirjuaq caribou herd and its harvesters from across the caribou range.

The Board considers the screening process for this permit to be flawed because concerns about the
project’s potential impacts on caribou that were submitted in writing by both the BQCMB and the Arviat
Hunter’s and Trapper’s Organization were apparently disregarded. The BQCMB believes the NIRB
should have rejected the application or conducted a full and transparent review of the project.

In recent letters to the NIRB and the KIA, the BQCMB has requested the following:

  • that the KIA review its decision to issue a one-year land use licence to Anconia that permits its mineral exploration work on the Qamanirjuaq calving ground this summer, and cancel that licence, and
  • that the NIRB review its decisions regarding issuing an Inuit land use license and a federal land use permit for Anconia’s proposed activities.

In letters to the NIRB, the KIA and relevant federal and territorial/provincial ministers, the BQCMB has asked for the following actions regarding mineral exploration on Beverly and Qamanirjuaq calving grounds generally:

  • that the NIRB conduct a full and transparent review, at a minimum, for all future applications for mineral exploration licences and permits on the calving grounds,
  • that the KIA and AANDC commit to issuing no further land use licenses or permits for mineral exploration activities on the calving grounds, and
  • that governments seriously consider supporting the BQCMB recommendation for long-term legislated protection of calving and post-calving areas.

Issuing land use licenses and permits to allow mineral exploration on the calving grounds implies that
mine development would be permitted there. The BQCMB considers this prospect to be totally
unacceptable and understands that it would be opposed by Nunavut communities and others across
the caribou ranges and beyond. “Why Nunavut organizations and the federal government would allow
exploration within these critical areas does not make sense”, says Evans.

“This struggle to protect the calving grounds is not new”, Evans added. “Since its formation in 1982,
the BQCMB has consistently recommended that the calving grounds of both herds not be explored or
developed. I have been with the caribou all my life, and have seen firsthand how human disturbance
and access on the ranges can threaten their very existence. It is discouraging that nobody’s listening.”

For more information, contact:
Ross Thompson
BQCMB Executive Director
Phone: (204) 467-2438
E-mail: [email protected]

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