The Raglan Nickel Mine has been in operation since 1997. In 2016 the company proposed to extend the life of the mine by over 20 years, to 2041. A committee was formed to review the environmental and social impacts of the extension, comprised of participants from the Inuit organisation Makivik Corporation, two Inuit communities located near the project (Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq), and the proponent. Its mandate was co-developed by their respective senior leaders.
The committee developed five recommendations for good practice:
- Seek true dialogue to meaningfully engage.
- Utilise indigenous knowledge and local knowledge.
- Build internal capacity and provide resources to meaningfully engage in the EIA.
- Allow the EIA to influence project design and decision-making process.
- Strengthen circumpolar co-operation on transboundary EIAs.
Several models for meaningfully engaging indigenous peoples were identified, including indigenous-led and indigenous-knowledge-based impact assessments; issue-specific impact assessments (health, ethnological and cumulative impact assessments); and collaborative risk mitigation.
The joint review allowed the Inuit and the company to integrate cultural information, revise the project, co-develop risk mitigation strategies and monitoring measures, and jointly define levels of significance for each impact after mitigation. Eventually the Inuit decided to support the mine extension.
The project is also an example of a retrospective impact assessment, which looked at changes that had occurred during the existing project’s lifetime and compared them to predictions made prior to the project’s approval. It provides valuable insight into the ways that project management and monitoring should be changed.
For more information, see: Arctic Council, Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG), Arctic Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) project (2019) ‘Good Practices for Environmental Impact Assessment and Meaningful Engagement in the Arctic – Including Good Practice Recommendations’. Arctic Council.