Company representatives are in Nunavut after a decision from the Nunavut Impact Review Board caused confusion last week.
Exploration company Dunnedin Ventures (TSXV:DVI) said Monday that it will be meeting with two Nunavut communities from April 11 to 15 to discuss and seek advice on its Kahuna diamond project.
The move follows the release of a screening decision report from the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) last week. In the report, the NIRB recommends that the project proposal for Kahuna be “modified or abandoned” as it could cause public concern or have negative ecosystemic and socioeconomic impacts.
According to CBC, the NIRB’s decision was partially based on comments it received from the Kivalliq Inuit Association and the Aqgiq Hunters and Trappers Organization. Both bodies “submitted comments to the NIRB outlining their objections to the proposal, one of them being the company’s lack of consultation with community members.” The mess left behind by Shear Minerals’ abandoned Churchill diamond exploration camp is another concern that was raised.
Dunnedin’s share price has dropped significantly since the NIRB’s news hit, and the company has rushed to explain the situation to its shareholders. In a press release put out Monday, CEO Chris Taylor emphasized that the NIRB’s report is not as negative as it sounds — in fact, it shouldn’t be a stumbling block for the company at all.
Essentially, he said, Dunnedin currently has an exploration permit for Kahuna that is good until mid-2017; however, due to recent changes to Nunavut’s mineral exploration rules, the company decided to apply for its next exploration permit well ahead of time. The goal was to be able to work through the new regulations properly and get the new permit without a hitch.
“We submitted a multi-year exploration permit application almost two years before required, in order to ensure Dunnedin has ample time to work within regulatory guidelines and incorporate any guidance from local groups,” Taylor explained, adding, “[c]hanges have recently been made to Nunavut’s mineral exploration regulations, and we decided to be proactive as it will take time for companies, government and local interests to adapt.”
The issue is that because the company applied early for its multi-year exploration permit, it hadn’t yet had a chance to meet with the communities that it will affect. As Monday’s press release indicates, Dunnedin is hoping to fix that lack of communication quickly, and Taylor himself has apologized for the delay.
“I would like to apologize on behalf of the Company for not having yet consulted with all community members at the time of our application’s submission,” he said.
Next steps for Dunnedin of course include this week’s consultations with the Nunavut communities mentioned above. In terms of Kahuna as a whole, there shouldn’t be much change — the company’s current exploration permit for the project is still valid until next year, and if Dunnedin is able to comply with the NIRB’s recommendations (in other words, if it either modifies the existing project proposal for Kahuna or submits a new one), it should still be able to receive its new exploration permit well ahead of time.
Dunnedin also commented on Shear Diamonds’ abandoned camp, noting that while it understands concerns about the site, the company is not involved with the camp.
As noted, Dunnedin’s share price has take a hit since the news from the NIRB came out. At close of day Monday it was sitting at $0.05, down 9.09 percent. In the last five days it’s lost 33.33 percent. Those interested in the company will no doubt be waiting to see how this week’s meetings pan out, and to see what Dunnedin’s next steps with the NIRB will be.
Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Dunnedin Ventures is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.