Kangiqsualujjuaq, Québec, December 3, 2014 – At a public hearing organized by the Bureau d’audiences publiques de l’environnement (environmental public hearings committee, BAPE) and the Kativik Environmental Advisory Committee (KEAC) on the challenges and issues posed by uranium mining, Jobie Tukkiapik, President of the Makivik Corporation, and Maggie Emudluk, Chairperson of the Kativik Regional Government (KRG), stated their opposition to uranium exploration, exploitation and waste management in Nunavik.
There is consensus among Nunavik Inuit that development of the uranium industry in our region is not acceptable,” said Makivik President Jobie Tukkiapik. “Uranium is radioactive and can harm wildlife. The risk of contamination would cut us off from our traditional country foods. The negative impacts would be nungujuittuq, meaning something that will never perish.”
The Makivik Corporation and the KRG have been involved throughout the entire BAPE–KEAC uranium consultation process, listening to the representations of residents and regional organizations at pre-consultation and information-exchange phases organized in Nunavik earlier this year. The process has served to underscore the poor level of non-technical information available on uranium exploration and exploitation.
Our position is based on thorough analysis of the current state of uranium development in Nunavik and facts, as well as priorities in terms of land use and harvesting activities,” added KRG Chairperson Maggie Emudluk.
Nunavik’s remoteness and rugged climate would furthermore challenge the capacity of governments to properly monitor uranium mining and impede effective responses by mining companies in case of accident or emergency.
Conventional mining activities that are conducted in a socially and environmentally responsible manner and fully respect the treaty rights of Nunavik Inuit can be an important tool for economic and social development. On November 19, 2014, the Makivik Corporation released the Nunavik Inuit Mining Policy to guide conventional mining projects in the region. The policy aims to maximize social and economic benefits for Nunavik Inuit, and minimize negative environmental impacts.
The Kativik Regional Government is a non-ethnic public organization created in 1978, under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. The organization has jurisdiction over nearly the entire territory of Québec north of the 55th parallel in areas such as municipal matters, transportation, the environment, policing, employment, labour training, income security, childcare services, renewable resources, land-use planning, civil security and economic development.
The Makivik Corporation is the development corporation mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit-operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.