The Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB), created under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement to conduct environmental and socio-economic assessments of project proposals (including mining) in Nunavut, is currently reviewing the Back River Project. NIRB started this process when Sabina submitted a Project Description in June 2012. Following this, it was decided that NIRB would lead Part 5 review on the Back River project.
NIRB uses scientific methods and traditional knowledge to:
- review the potential biophysical and socio-economic impacts of the Back River Project;
- assess the extent to which there will be impacts on the region and its communities;
- determine if the Back River Project proposal should proceed and, if so, which terms and conditions should be followed; and
- report its findings to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, who is responsible for issuing final Project approvals.
As part of this process, NIRB issued a revised draft scope and draft guidelines for the preparation of Sabina’s environmental impact statement (EIS) on February 8, 2013. Also in February, NIRB conducted a series of scoping meetings in the Kitikmeot Region to hear community feedback on the Project, which Sabina attended as an observer.
After the scoping meetings, NIRB released its final scope and revised draft guidelines on March 18 (Sabina responded to the guidelines on April 8).
The Company expects to its Draft EIS by the end of 2013, which will be evaluated by NIRB, government agencies, Inuit organizations, communities, and other interested parties.