Kiggavik project

A scene from the proposed Kiggavik uranium mine near Baker Lake. The minister's decision effectively sends the $2.1 billion project back to the drawing board. (The Canadian Press)

The minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs has reviewed the Nunavut Impact Review Board's final report on the proposed Kiggavik uranium mine and agreed with the board: "the project should not proceed at this time."

The review board issued its final report on the proposed mine near Baker Lake in the spring of 2015. 

The report rejected Areva Resource's proposed Kiggavik mine on the grounds that it lacks a definite start date and a development schedule. The board concluded that without this information it was impossible to assess the environmental and social impacts of the mine.

The French mining company then wrote to the minister asking that the decision be rejected. 

In her July 14 letter, Carolyn Bennett, the minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, echoes the decision made by the review board, noting the lack of a start date.

"This made it particularly challenging for the board to make a sound and confident assessment of effects on caribou, fish and marine wildlife," Bennett wrote to the board.

The region's hunters and trappers had made numerous presentations to the board stating their concerns over the impact of the project on wildlife.

People in Baker Lake had also expressed fears over the idea of a uranium mine opening near their community.

The $2.1-billion project called for one underground and four open-pit mines just west of Baker Lake, and would have provided at least 400 jobs, many reserved for local Inuit.

But Areva acknowledged that uranium prices are currently so low it could be up to two decades before construction would actually begin.

With files from Elyse Skura