Nunavut, often ignored in past mineral exploration, is turning out to have significant and exceptional mineral resources. The Baker Lake area has seen major exploration projects in recent years, especially with gold, uranium and other minerals. The opening of the Meadowbank mine has created much needed employment in the region. There is also potential for a uranium mine, called the Kiggavik Project, which is being proposed by Areva Resources Canada. A road linking Manitoba to the Kivalliq region is also being discussed.
The Meadowbank Mine near Baker Lake is one of Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM) largest mines. It has more than 3.5 million ounces of gold in reserve with tremendous potential for more. The mine is located 70 km north of Baker Lake. Meadowbank is serviced by a 110 km all season road from Baker Lake. An onsite airstrip has been built for shipping food, goods and to transport employees who work on a fly-in fly-out rotation. All major buildings have been erected including the processing plant. There is a permanent camp, complete with fitness and recreation facilities which can house more than 400 employees at a time.
The plan is to mine and process 8,500 tonnes of ore per day producing 350,000 ounces of gold annually over a 9 year mine life. The Company sees the potential to discover 5 000 000 ounces of gold at Meadowbank and continue the mine life beyond 2019.
AEM looks forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the local residents and the government of Nunavut. From the start, its exploration and development activities have been tailored to protect the region's unique environment and wildlife. The mine expects to employ about 450 people with approximately 40% coming from local communities. Meadowbank holds significant promise for both AEM and for the local community.