To the surprise and delight of many concerned citizens in Baker Lake, the Nunavut Impact Review Board has concluded that uranium mining should not be allowed to proceed at this time.
Baker Lake is an Inuit Community renowned for its arts and crafts; it is located 320 km inland from the northwest shore of Hudson Bay, in permafrost terrain. For decades, uranium extraction companies have sought permission to mine uranium not far from Baker Lake, despite the fragility of the permafrost, the proximity of caribou calving grounds, local reliance on hunting and trapping, and the forbidding northern landscape.
A moratorium against uranium mining was voted by Inuit residents in 1989. But after the self-governing territory of Nunavut was formed in 1999, with its capital in far-away Iqaluit, the uranium moratorium was overturned in 2007 by the NTI (Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.) the Land Claims administration for the territory.
Uranium giant Areva has been working ever since to obtain permission to create the Kiggavik uranium mine near Baker Lake. If Kiggavik goes ahead, others are sure to follow as a host of exploration companies have staked claims all over Nunavut.
The conclusion of the Review Board is in accord with the Declaration of the World Uranium Symposium held in Quebec City in April of 2015, calling for a ban on uranium mining world-wide. See www.ccnr.org/Declaration_WUS_