The James Bay Winter Road will be built to a more “robust” standard this season due to traffic to and from the abandoned Victor Mine site.
The 311 kilometer route connects First Nations communities on the James Bay coast, including Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany and Moosonee.
The ice road is built and maintained annually. It is operated and managed by the Kimesskanemenow LP.
The company is currently in the planning stage, setting up contractors and signing agreements with the communities.
“We hired our staff and we did orientation and stuff. We hope to start next week,” said Nancy Wood, president of Kimesskanemenow LP.
The road is generally open to light traffic such as vans in mid-January and heavier traffic in early February.
Environmental engineering consultancy Golder, which has been hired by the De Beers Group to oversee the closure of the disused Victor Mine, will use the road to transport remaining equipment and infrastructure out of the mine.
“We just made a deal with them,” Wood said. “And they are making a financial contribution to improving the road.”
The Victor Mine opened in 2008 and ceased operations in 2019.
Due to mining traffic, the James Bay road will be built to a more robust standard, Wood said, adding that with the increased road standard, the company is looking to hire more people.
“The ice crossings are made to a thicker standard. And the bridges, we have more money to improve them so that heavier loads can cross them,” she said.
Wood declined to disclose how much funding the company has received from the federal and provincial governments this season. Last year, the combined funding was $1.2 million.
“We hope it will be a good season,” she said.
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