Nunavut signs deal with mining company on high school mining curriculum.

In April, Premier Eva Aariak signed a memorandum with mining company Agnico-Eagle, who operate the Meadowbank gold mine near Baker Lake, to invest in mining-related curriculum for Nunavut high schools. Aariak has stated that since there are new job opportunities for Nunavummiut in the mining sector, schools should team up with companies to offer training. Since the curriculum has not been unveiled yet, it is not sure what exactly the training will entail. Nunavut Arctic College already has a diploma in Environmental Technology, where students take a course designed for the Baffinland Mary River mine.

Agnico-Eagle claim this is an effort on their part to remain present in the region, especially with the proposed development of the Meliadine mine by Ranking Inlet. But with a loss of over $600 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, and the statement earlier this year that Meadowbank would close in 2017 instead of 2020, this seems doubtful. This is worrisome. Not only could this lead to a very narrow-minded vision of high school education in Nunavut, but moerover what kind of support can they truly offer the people of Baker Lake with this new proposed curriculum if they are leaving in five years?

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