Mine shares some of its ‘gold’ with community

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Not even Mother Nature’s wet-and-windy mood could dampen the enthusiasm of the hundreds of kids and their parents who packed into the community hall for the Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM)-sponsored Family Fun Day in Rankin Inlet on July 28.

There were treats everywhere one looked, including a cotton candy machine that made its debut this year, lots of activities to occupy young minds and busy hands, as well as the popular Bouncy Castle.

Rankin SAO Justin Merritt said AEM provides the money for the day and the hamlet takes it from there. This year’s Family Fun Day came in at $40,000.

Young Panniuq Kaludjak gets a little help drawing a bead on the target from Makpa Uluqsi during Agnico Eagle’s Family Fun Day in Rankin Inlet on July 28,2019. Photo courtesy of Emily Beardsall

Merritt said AEM is good at stepping-up when the community needs help. It also creates summer jobs for students and holds an annual gala during the holiday season that sees $40,000 donated to four local organizations.

He said AEM also helped this past year when the town’s grader was down and the community was hit with sewer-tank problems.

“The kids just go nuts for things like Family Fun Day,” said Merritt.

“My heaven, you see them up there and they’re just having an absolute ball.

“This year’s funding went towards all the food for the barbecue, as well as Shish Kabobs, the cotton candy machine, the band (Aqqut) we brought in and our big square dance.”

Merritt said three hamlet councillors sit down with AEM representatives to hash out the details when they’re planning special events.

He said AEM also donated $1 million during its grand opening for the Meliadine gold mine on June 19, with $750,000 going to the Ilitaqsiniq – Nunavut Literacy Council and $250,000 going towards a training centre for local and regional firefighters, as well as AEM’s own emergency-response team.

“I must say, however, in my own personal opinion, the hamlet is not getting enough for the impact they’re having on the community.

“They pay both the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. ($450 million in royalties and fees during the next 15 years), but the hamlet, itself, gets nothing out of the economic benefits the mine brings.

“There’s good wages being earned by the people who work there, obviously, but there’s nothing coming to us to provide infrastructure for the community.

“They have their Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement, naturally, so the money is going to the KIA, Nunavut Tunngavik and the Government of Nunavut for land taxes  but the hamlet itself should be getting some of the benefits of the mine and seeing money coming in for the community’s infrastructure needs.”