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Harper's cabinet mulls massive Chinese resource project near Kugluktuk Nunavut in Arctic

Harper's cabinet mulls massive Chinese resource project near Kugluktuk Nunavut in Arctic | Inuit Nunangat Stories |
Harper's cabinet mulls massive Chinese resource project in Arctic
Northern_Clips's insight:

"...Some time in the new year, four federal ministers are to decide how to conduct an environmental review for the Izok Corridor proposal. It could bring many billions of dollars into the Arctic but would also see development of open-pit mines, roads, ports and other facilities in the centre of calving grounds for the fragile Bathurst caribou herd.
"This is going to be the biggest issue," said Sally Fox, a spokeswoman for proponent MMG Minerals, a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned Minmetals Resources Ltd.
It would be hard to exaggerate the proposal's scope. Centred at Izok Lake, about 260 kilometres southeast of Kugluktuk, the project would stretch throughout a vast swath of western Nunavut.
Izok Lake would have five separate underground and open-pit mines producing lead, zinc and copper. Another site at High Lake, 300 kilometres to the northeast, would have another three mines.
MMG also wants a processing plant that could handle 6,000 tonnes of ore a day, tank farms for 35 million litres of diesel, two permanent camps totalling 1,000 beds, airstrips and a 350-kilometre all-weather road with 70 bridges that would stretch from Izok Lake to Grays Bay on the central Arctic coast....

"Both the Izok Lake mine site and the High Lake mine site, as well as the route of the Izok corridor all-weather road, occur either near to or on the Bathurst calving ground," wrote the government of the Northwest Territories.

"The proposed project may cause significant adverse effects on the ecosystem and wildlife habitat," wrote Environment Canada.

"We are concerned that our hunting and harvesting rights will be in jeopardy if the project is allowed to proceed as is," added the Lutsel K'e Dene.

Many pointed out that the Bathurst herd has only recently stabilized after a 90 per cent drop in the 1980s to today's 32,000 animals. That drop was steep and sustained enough for aboriginal groups to stop hunting the herd and many are leery of anything that could impede its recovery...."

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October 3rd – Yellowknife on the way to Kugluktuk | Dr Mark Furze

October 3rd – Yellowknife on the way to Kugluktuk | Dr Mark Furze | Inuit Nunangat Stories |


Departed Edmonton yesterday on an Air Canada flight. Arrived in Yellowknife to low scudding clouds, the bare rolling granite and spruce trees grey in and wet in the light drizzle. Around 5°C. Settled in to the Explorer Hotel with a great view across Frame Lake and the city and after half a bottle of wine in the restaurant last night everything is good. Robbie Bennett and Bob Murphy from the Geological Survey of Canada (chief scientist and coring expert respectively) arrived last night too and are with us in the Explorer.

The extra day in Yellowknife before the charter flight to Kugluktuk to meet the ship tomorrow was intentional. Lost bags can mean no research cruise participation if all your essential clothing and equipment is in them. Luckily for us we didn’t loose anything, though Bob Murphy’s bag was delayed. Thankfully that arrived this morning, proving the wisdom of the 24hr lay-over in Yellowknife.

Track the Amundsen at sea!

Use to track the daily progress of the CCGS Amundsen icebreaker on her transit through the Northwest Passage!

CCGS-NGCC Amundsen


My wife, Anna Pienkowski, and I have been invited to participate in Leg 3b of this season’s research cruise aboard the CCGS Amundsen icebreaker. As members of the Geological Survey of Canada scientific crew, this leg will take will take us north from Kugluktuk (Coppermine) into Viscount Melville Sound and then east through Barrow Strait and Lancaster Sound into Baffin Bay (the main axis of the Northwest Passage). We’ll then steam north to Nares Strait between Ellesemere Island and Greenland before heading south through the Labrador Sea and into the St Laurence Seaway to terminate in Quebéc City. The objective is to recover multiple cores of sediment from the sea floor, as well as seismic data, that can be used to elucidate the long-term environmental evolution of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, in particular the glacial and deglacial history of the area and the major oceanographic changes including sea-ice variability that have occurred during the Holocene.

Follow our participation in the expedition on-line in the Field & Research Blog



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