Amongst the world leaders in uranium mining, AREVA has been contributing to Saskatchewan’s economy for over 50 years through its uranium exploration, mining, and ore processing activities. Today, AREVA Resources Canada employs close to 500 people in its head office in Saskatoon and at its northern Saskatchewan operations. Over 50 per cent of its mine site employees are residents of northern Saskatchewan, the majority of whom are aboriginal. In 2013 the company contributed over $25 million in royalties and taxes and purchased nearly $85 million in goods and services from Saskatchewan suppliers. Uranium mining is one of Saskatchewan’s major economic drivers and the largest industrial employer of aboriginal people in Canada.
Aside from its Saskatchewan based projects, AREVA has been active in Nunavut since 2005 when it started exploring at the Kiggavik Project, situated 80 kilometres west of Baker Lake. The summer exploration program has grown and the existing resources are now estimated at about 133 million pounds of uranium. AREVA is proposing to develop the Kiggavik Project comprised of the Kiggavik and Scissons deposits in four open pit mines, one underground mine, an ore processing mill, and other related services facilities.
The Kiggavik Project site would also include an employee camp able to accommodate 400 to 600 employees, most of whom are expected to be residents of the Kivalliq Region. Overall the Kiggavik Project would be expected to offer up to 750 jobs during construction and settling at about 500 positions during operation. The project would bring $1 billion in royalties and taxes to the Nunavut economy.
AREVA is preparing to submit its Kiggavik Project Final Environmental Impact Statement by the end of September 2014, and has been working diligently to answer all the questions and comments received from the public, environmental, and non-governmental organizations and the Nunavut Impact Review Board. The work presents the results of over eight years of technical studies assessing the potential environmental, health and safety, and socio-economic effects of the project.
The Kiggavik Project team has also integrated Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, or knowledge and experience related to the local environment and way of life, into the proposed development from facilities design to wildlife and environmental protection. AREVA and its consultants have studied the air, water, land, wildlife, and the potential effects of the project on each of them. In the document, the team addresses environmental protection, monitoring and remediation measures, as well as the protection of the health and safety of workers and the public. Plans for the proposed Kiggavik Project are based on AREVA’s positive track record over decades in Saskatchewan in terms of environmental, health, and safety protection.
The Kiggavik Project would produce uranium that is used to create clean, reliable fuel to power nuclear power plants around the world. Nuclear energy is North America’s largest source of low-carbon electricity and a major provider of clean, dependable power to an energy hungry world. Increasing our use of nuclear energy is a good way to help prevent greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Although the uranium and nuclear market expansion has been slower than anticipated a few years ago, we remain confident the long-term demand for uranium will stay strong as emerging markets such as China, India, and Brazil build new nuclear power plants. Indeed the world demand for energy is expected to surge because of the growing population and improvements in standard of living, which rely on the availability of reliable sources of low-carbon electricity.
At AREVA, we believe that nuclear energy and renewables are complementary and will play an increasingly important role in meeting our future energy demands. When we submit the Kiggavik Project final environmental impact statement this fall, AREVA will be well positioned to move the project forward to the next steps when market conditions are favourable.
For half a century, AREVA has been a good neighbour and contributed to the success of Saskatchewan’s uranium sector; through the potential future development of its Kiggavik Project, AREVA would continue its mission to provide solutions to meet the world’s low-carbon energy needs and support Nunavut’s socio-economic growth.