Project Dashboard

Status: ACTIVE MONITORING

  • NIRB File No:

    11MN034

  • Application No.:

    125515

  • Project Type:

    Mine Development

  • Project Name:

    Saline Effluent Discharge to Marine Environment, Rankin Inlet, Meliadine Gold Mine, Nunavut

Applicant
Primary Contact

IntroductionAgnico Eagle Mines Limited (Agnico Eagle) is proposing to convey water through waterlines (two 16 inch diameter pipes) instead of trucking and release an increased volume of treated groundwater from Meliadine Mine into the ocean at Melvin Bay through a waterline and an engineered structure that disperses water (known as a diffuser) near Rankin Inlet. The waterline will be constructed along the All-Weather Access Road (AWAR) and the bypass road.Addendum Description Ownership: Agnico Eagle Mines Limited owns the Meliadine Project.Location: Easement area along the AWAR and Bypass Road, Itivia Fuel Storage Facility at Rankin Inlet, and treated groundwater effluent discharged through the discharge pipe and engineered diffuser into Melvin Bay.Access: The treated groundwater will be conveyed through the waterlines along the 34 km of the AWAR and bypass road between Rankin Inlet and the Meliadine Mine. The AWAR is 34 km long, two-lane, and open to public but with controlled access. The Rankin Inlet bypass road is 7 km long and closed to the public.Source of Groundwater Effluent: groundwater inflows to the underground mine at the Tiriganiaq deposit. Schedule: construction and installation of the waterlines and installation of the discharge pipe and diffuser will start when Agnico Eagle gets all its permits. If approved, construction of the waterline will begin August 2020 and will be completed by June 2021 and the diffuser will be constructed from July to September 2021. Discharge of groundwater treated at the Mine to Melvin Bay will occur every year when there is no ice on Melvin Bay (summer months from May to October), while there is mining at the Meliadine Mine until the Mine closes in 2032.Discharge process: groundwater will be collected in surface ponds at the Mine site, separate from other water. The groundwater will be treated at the Mine site so that it is safe to discharge into the ocean. Treated groundwater will be conveyed via waterlines from the Mine along the AWAR and discharged through the diffuser into Melvin Bay, approximately 20 metres below the water surface. Discharge will only be undertaken when there is no ice on Melvin Bay (May to October, no under ice discharge) or otherwise approved by the community. Groundwater will be stored underground and in surface ponds during the winter at the Meliadine Mine.Personnel: a workforce of about 24 people will be needed for the installation of the waterlines and the diffuser.  Impact Assessment MethodsValued ecosystem components (VECs) and valued socio-economic components (VSECs) are the most important parts of the environment and to people. Agnico Eagle determined if there would be negative impacts from the discharge and waterlines to air quality, noise, vegetation, marine water and sediment quality, marine wildlife and wildlife habitat, terrestrial wildlife (caribou), archaeology, traditional land use, employment, and infrastructure and social services.The assessment of potential effects due to the proposed changes looked at potential new effects over time and space from those already looked at and approved in 2018. It looked at the potential effects near the Project and Rankin Inlet, in a larger area around the Project and Rankin Inlet and even larger area within the region including potentially all of Nunavut. The effects assessment was based on data and expert opinion. Available Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and community information was also used. The following were used to assess environmental significance of a potential effect due to the proposed amendment activities: •how big, how far, and how long an effect will last•activity design or mitigations to limit or avoid potential effects•historical, cultural, and archaeological significance of the geographic area likely to be affected by the proposed amendment activitiesFeedback from consultation efforts in January and March 2020 showed that the community was neutral and most concerns were addressed by clarifying Agnico Eagle’s Project Description and resulting in the implementation of additional mitigation measures to the Project.Key Elements and Findings of the Final Environmental Impact Statement AddendumFor the most part discharge to the ocean does not have much impact on the environment via waterlines from Meliadine Mine. There will be less trucks on the road than what was originally approved for groundwater discharge. This means there will be less dust generated and less noise from the truck traffic and less greenhouse gases. It also means less truck traffic that could interact with caribou and other wildlife. The discharge of treated groundwater to the ocean could affect marine water quality, marine mammals, marine fish and other small organisms in the water; however, based on outcomes of modelling, the impacts are similar to those identified in 2018. Agnico Eagle plans to continue monitoring the water and the animals to confirm that it is safe to discharge. Most effects from the Project are related to the waterlines as discharge to the marine environment has been looked at and approved. The waterlines will be built close to the road on the tundra, impacting vegetation, where the waterlines will lie. Crossings will need to be put in place, where required. There is a possibility that the waterlines could spill on the tundra or into the ocean. The effluent is treated groundwater that is like ocean water. Even if the waterline or diffuser had a leak it would still be safe and Agnico Eagle would fix any leaks in the waterline and stop the spill. Mitigation identified in the Spill Contingency Plan and environmental design features will be in place to limit the number and size of spills that result from Project activities, including monitoring the waterline for leaks. Impacts from the ocean discharge to people are expected to be minimal. While there are a few jobs available, most of the employees will come from the region. People will still be able to snowmobile on Melvin Bay as they do now and they will still be able to access the land along the AWAR as they do now.

Assessment Phase / Activity
  • NIRB Ltr to Proponent and Parties re IRs requiring a response 2020-09-28
  • NIRB Notice to Parties of IR’s Received 2020-09-28
  • NIRB Ltr to Parties re FEIS Technical Review and Submission of Technical review comments 2020-09-24
  • Scoping: Final Scope isuued 2020-09-22
  • NIRB Ltr to Parties re submission of Information Requests 2020-09-22
  • NIRB issues notice of community information sessions 2020-09-18
  • NIRB issues notice of community information sessions 2020-09-18
  • NIRB issues notice of community information sessions 2020-09-18
  • NIRB issues notice of community information sessions 2020-09-18
  • NIRB issues notice of community information sessions 2020-09-18
  • NIRB issues notice of community information sessions 2020-09-18
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-09-15
  • NIRB issues notice of community information sessions 2020-09-11
  • NIRB issues notice of community information sessions 2020-09-11
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-09-09
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-09-08
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-08-31
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-08-28
  • NIRB Ltr to Proponent re FEIS Compliance Determination 2020-08-27
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-08-25
  • NIRB issues notice of receipt of final EIS submission 2020-08-18
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-08-10
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-08-07
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-07-21
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-07-21
  • NIRB Ltr to Proponent re FEIS Compliance Determination 2020-07-17
  • NIRB Notice to Parties re comments received 2020-07-14
  • NIRB Ltr to Proponent re reconsideration of Project Certificate 2020-07-08
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-07-08
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-06-30
  • Guidelines: NIRB issues guidelines to proponent 2020-06-15
  • NIRB Ltr to Proponent re reconsideration of Project Certificate 2020-06-09
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-05-11
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-04-27
  • Send Notification to Parties 2020-04-22
  • Started project monitoring 2020-04-14
Region
  • Kivalliq
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