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KIA signs gold mine benefit deal with Agnico Eagle

The Kivalliq Inuit Association and gold miner Agnico Eagle have reached an agreement over how Inuit will benefit from the expansion of the company's mining projects North of Baker Lake.

The KIA and Agnico Eagle have signed an Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement regrading the Whale Tail gold deposit

Gold miners work in the open pit mine at Agnico Eagle's Meadowbank site near Baker Lake, Nunavut. Ore from the Whale Tail deposit will milled at the Meadowbank facility. The company has signed an Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement with the Kivalliq Inuit Association regarding the Whale Tail gold deposit. (Canadian Press)

Officials from the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. signed the Whale Tail Inuit impact benefit agreement (IIBA) in Baker Lake, Nunavut, on Thursday.

In 2019, the mining company hopes to begin open pit operations at the Whale Tail gold deposit, approximately 50 kilometres north of the Meadowbank gold mine.

The Whale Tail agreement includes a $6.5 million payment to KIA — including $3 million given on June 15 to a community initiative fund. Other benefits include a 1.4 per cent cut of net gold production, $3.6 million in funding for annual training programs (with an additional $1 million in training investment if Inuit employment goals are not reached), and a preference point system to Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. registered companies.

"KIA has strived to balance the need to protect the environment with the promotion of economic development," stated David Ningeongan, KIA president, in a press release.

"KIA has worked hard to ensure that the IIBA works for the benefit of Inuit in the Kivalliq region and is another step towards a better future for Inuit of Nunavut."

The Whale Tail deposit has not received final permits for production but they are expected to arrive in time for mining to begin in 2019. Ore from the deposit will be milled at the Meadowbank mine.

Over the next three years, Agnico Eagle expects to spend $1.2 billion USD on developing the Whale Tail and Meliadine mine projects. The Meliadine deposit is 25 kilometres north of Rankin Inlet.

According to Agnico Eagle, once both mines are operating, approximately $66 million per year in payroll will reach Kivalliq communities. The mines will also mean $500 million per year in contracts for goods and services.

Between the Whale Tail and Meliadine deposits, Agnico Eagle expects to extend operations at the Meadowbank mine by 14 years.

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