WLWB Highlight – Ekati’s Point Lake Application
Each newsletter we highlight something important going on at the Wek’èezhìı Land and Water Board, and, in this edition, we are featuring the Ekati Point Lake Development that was recently announced. The Ekati mine was recently sold by Dominion Diamonds to the Arctic Canadian Diamond Company. Following the sale an announcement was made that in order to extend the life of the mine, the mine will be applying for land use permits and a water licence amendment from the WLWB to mine the three kimberlite pipes under Point Lake. The proposed site sits between the existing sites of Lynx and Misery, and the proposed site Jay, and was originally identified in 1991. Mining Point Lake would allow for transition from current sites to new projects that will come online in a few years, which should provide continuous work for employees as they transfer from existing projects to those proposed for later dates. This will enable use of continued infrastructure and equipment and should prolong the life of the mine to 2042, if all goes to plan.
Aside from the two new land use permits and the amendment to the current water licence, the Point Lake project requires a 500-metre access road and a new waste rock storage area to be viable. The mine stated that once the site has been fully mined Point Lake will be an open pit filled with freshwater to become a pit lake, the access road will be reclaimed, and the waste rock storage area will be completely covered. The process for getting the area ready, once the proper permits are in place, will include removing the fish in the lake, and draining it. Because of this, the project will also need approval from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Once permits are approved, and prep work is done, the mining of this location is expected to start as early as January of 2023 and should run to 2027 at which point other projects will have started and will continue to the expected closure date of 2042.
WRRB staff reviewed and provided comments on the proposed Pine Lake project, including the potential significant cumulative impacts to caribou. A copy of the comments can be found here.