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Uranium Mning: Funding encourages Baker Lake residents to comment on Areva proposal

Funding encourages Baker Lake residents to comment on Areva proposal
Last Updated: Monday, February 16, 2009
CBC News

Some last-minute funding helped about 70 people in Baker Lake, Nunavut, give a regulatory board their thoughts on a uranium mine proposal in the area.

The proposal by Areva Resources Canada Inc. is undergoing a screening by the Nunavut Impact Review Board. The board has extended its deadline for accepting public comments to Feb. 18, at the request of the territorial government.

Areva wants to develop an open-pit and underground uranium mine at its Kiggavik site, about 80 kilometres west of Baker Lake, a hamlet of 1,728.

The board's current screening process will help the board decide whether Areva's proposal should be subjected to a full-scale environmental review.

Six days before the board's original deadline of Feb. 10, the Baker Lake hamlet gave $1,000 to the local hunters and trappers organization (HTO) to help with the process of gathering public comments.

Almost 70 residents came to the HTO's office on short notice and filled out comment forms, said Joan Scottie, who is also part of a local committee of citizens concerned about uranium mining.

Scottie said more than 60 per cent of those people who filled out comment cards opposed Areva's proposal.

"This is the first time in a long time we gave the people [a chance] to participate," Scottie said.

"This is what [most] Šof the youth and the elders and the hunters [say]. This is their response."

Scottie said the hamlet money was used primarily for "participation prizes," a practice that she said is in line with what many other organizations and researchers in Nunavut do to attract people.

The HTO was among about 18 groups, government agencies, Inuit organizations and individuals that submitted comments to the review board on the Areva proposal.


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