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Agnico Eagle delivers $1 million for Baker Lake initiatives

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. has a lot to celebrate with the official opening of its Amaruq Whale Tail project, and it had the neighbouring community of Baker Lake join in the celebration by donating $1 million for four community initiatives.

Joseph Arnasungaaq, left, of the Baker Lake Abluqta Society, Agnico Eagle Mine Ltd. vice president Dominique Girard and Baker Lake MLA Simeon Mikkungwak celebrate the official opening of the company's Amaruq Whale Tail project with a $500,000 donation. The company donated an additional $500,000 for other community projects.
photo courtesy Agnico Eagle Mine Ltd.

"Agnico Eagle is dedicated to developing mineral resources responsibly and for the benefit of all. We are proud to contribute to the growth and prosperity of Baker Lake and its surrounding communities," stated Luc Chouinard, general manager of Agnico Eagle's Meadowbank operations.

"We are committed to creating strong communities and a legacy of support that will help nurture the next generation of Nunavummiut."

Chouinard made the announcement Aug. 24 during the community's annual Festival by the Lake. More than 2,000 people attended.

The Baker Lake Abluqta Society, which will establish a food bank to help address food insecurity in the region, receives $500,000 over five years. The plan is to provide a weekly hot lunch program for elders; provide weekly meals for volunteers who will staff the food bank and related thrift shop; provide a steady supply of dry food goods, allowing families most in need to pick up a food basket; and have a sufficient stock of dry food for emergencies, with special attention to those with children at home.

“You should have heard the audience cheering when this announcement was made. People were crying from happiness,” said Abluqta president Joseph Arnasungaaq. “This is a big load off my back. I am so happy and relieved for the hungry families in Baker Lake.”

“Ma’na to Agnico Eagle for this generous donation,” said society vice-president Luc Gauvin, adding the society has a plan for a multi-levelled food bank, which emphasizes skills development of volunteers.

Volunteers will also host fundraising events to regularly distribute food hampers to those families most in need in the community.

The Baker Lake Fire Department, which receives $250,000, and the Hamlet of Baker Lake, with $100,000, will purchase a garage to house its new ambulance.

"The ambulance was recently purchased by Arctic Fuel, a local supplier to Agnico Eagle, as a gift to the community. However, due to a fire that had destroyed one of the municipal garages back in January, there was no place to safely park the ambulance and it was not able to be placed into service," according to the news release.

"By purchasing the garage, Baker Lake is finally able to put its new ambulance into service and provide better community health and emergency care to its citizens."

With a donation of $150,000, the Baker Lake search-and-rescue organization will purchase drone technology and other equipment to implement more effective search-and-rescue operations. The funds will also allow for the required technical training and certification for the operators.

Finally, with its donation of $100,000, the Baker Lake's recreation department will purchase new sound and lighting system. The hamlet is well-known for regularly hosting popular square dances and other events at its community centre.

Amaruq is a satellite deposit located 50 km northwest of the company's first mine, Meadowbank, and contains the Whale Tail gold deposit. That deposit is designed as an open-pit operation that will supply ore to the Meadowbank mill.

"Currently, there are 240 employees and contractors working at the site and once commercial production gets underway, we anticipate Amaruq Whale Tail will produce approximately 2.5 million ounces of gold between 2019 and 2025, with annual gold production averaging 272,500 ounces," states the company.

Agnico Eagle also owns the Meliadine mine located near Rankin Inlet.