Share your ideas: Back River Mine Project, pre-consultation on proposed amendments to the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations

Back River Mine Project, Nunavut

Current status: Open

Consultations began in May 2019 and are expected to end in July 2019.

The Government of Canada is seeking comments from Indigenous groups and the public on proposed amendments to Schedule 2 of the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations (the Regulations). The amendments would list water bodies frequented by fish located within the footprint of the Project’s tailings management facility. The regulatory amendments, if approved, would authorize the use of the water bodies for mine waste disposal. 

About the Back River Mine Project

Sabina Gold & Silver Corporation (the Proponent) is proposing to develop an open-pit and underground gold mine (the Project) located approximately 400 kilometers (km) southwest of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. The Project is located predominantly within the Queen Maud Gulf watershed in the western Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut.

The Project did not undergo a federal environmental assessment (EA) under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act as the Project was subject to an EA under the terms of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA).

The NLCA is applicable to the project area and sets out the requirements pertaining to public consultation and engagement and the Crown’s duty to consult with Aboriginal communities as it relates to proposed mineral development projects.

The Nunavut Impact Review Board, an institution of public government created by the NLCA, carried out the assessment of the potential impacts of proposed development.

About the consultation

The Proponent proposes to use waters frequented by fish for mine waste disposal, which can only be authorized by amending the Regulations to list the waterbodies to Schedule 2, consequently designating them as tailings impoundment areas.

The Proponent is required to develop and implement a Fish Habitat Compensation Plan to offset the loss of fish habitat that would result from the waterbodies being used for mine waste disposal.

The proposed amendments to list certain waterbodies to Schedule 2 of the Regulations and related consultations are based on two key reports prepared by the Proponent; the Alternative Assessment Report and the Fish Habitat Compensation Plan.  

These reports are downloadable or can be requested by email at the email found under Contact us.

Comments on the two reports must be provided in writing and be submitted by the end of July 2019.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is also consulting on the potential application of the Streamlining the Approvals Process for Metal Mines with Tailings Impoundment Areas in order to reduce approval timelines associated with the proposed amendments to the Regulations. Subject to Governor in Council approval, the Policy would exempt these proposed amendments from pre-publication in Part I of the Canada Gazette.

Join in: how to participate

To learn how we will protect your privacy during this consultation, please carefully review our privacy statement.

Comments and concerns regarding the Assessment of Alternatives Report and the Fish Habitat Compensation Plan may be submitted by regular mail or by e-mail.

Participate by mail

Send your comments to the address in Contact us.

Send us an email

Submit your comments by email to

Who is the focus of this consultation

ECCC would like to hear from:

Related information


Contact us


Environment and Climate Change Canada
Manager, Mining Section
Mining and Processing Division
351 boul. St-Joseph, 11th floor
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H3







Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: