Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut October 09, 2018 - 1:29 pm

QIA says it backed Baffinland in exchange for better Inuit benefits

“These regional benefits could be lost if the viability of the Mary River project is undermined”

JIM BELL
At a signing ceremony held on Oct. 3 for their amended Inuit impact and benefits agreement, Brian Penney, the president and CEO of Baffinland Iron Mines Corp., and P.J. Akeeagok, the president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, display a photo of Inuit heavy-equipment trainees who have benefited from a training program recently struck between QIA and the company. QIA, along with the Hamlet of Pond Inlet and the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization, told Northern Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc that such training programs would be threatened if the Mary River iron mine cannot increase its production. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
At a signing ceremony held on Oct. 3 for their amended Inuit impact and benefits agreement, Brian Penney, the president and CEO of Baffinland Iron Mines Corp., and P.J. Akeeagok, the president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, display a photo of Inuit heavy-equipment trainees who have benefited from a training program recently struck between QIA and the company. QIA, along with the Hamlet of Pond Inlet and the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization, told Northern Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc that such training programs would be threatened if the Mary River iron mine cannot increase its production. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

When they backed a recent pitch to regulators from Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. for permission to raise its legal production limit at Mary River, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association did so only after winning a long list of concessions, the Inuit organization said last week.

“QIA pledged that it could only consider supporting the 2018 production increase application if there was a consistent drive towards directly improving the lives of Inuit as a result of the project,” the Inuit org said on Oct. 3 in a statement.

The association made that statement after the federal government—with support from QIA, the Hamlet of Pond Inlet and the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization—rejected the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s recommendation to deny the production increase.

In December 2017, Baffinland had requested permission to raise its current annual production cap from 4.2 million tonnes to six million tonnes.

They also wanted permission to build a new 380-person accommodation camp and a 15-million-litre tank farm at Milne Inlet.

The review board, this past Aug. 31, recommended Northern Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc say yes to the new infrastructure, but say no to the production increase request.

Only three weeks later, the QIA, the Hamlet of Pond Inlet and the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization sent a letter that urged LeBlanc to reject the review board’s recommendation.

That’s because “regional benefits would be lost” and the project itself would be threatened, were Ottawa to accept the review board’s advice.

“The recommendation to reject the 2018 Production Increase Application by NIRB creates unnecessary risks for the Mary River project while the project revenues remain sparse,” said their joint letter, dated Sept. 21.

And that means recently negotiated benefits for Inuit would also have been put at risk, the three organizations said.

“These regional benefits could be lost if the viability of the Mary River project is undermined by current project certificate terms and conditions limiting the annual production level,” they told LeBlanc.

To underscore that point, they gave LeBlanc a sneak peek at the numerous added benefits for Inuit contained in the amended Inuit impact and benefits agreement that QIA and Baffinland had just negotiated.

They told LeBlanc about a $10-million training centre in Pond Inlet, on which design and feasibility work is already underway, and a long list of training, employment and other benefits the company had agreed to.

QIA finally made that deal public on Oct. 3, the day it was signed in Iqaluit, following the organization’s annual general meeting.

In its Sept. 21 letter, QIA also said they’ve worked out an arrangement with Baffinland called the “project stabilization approach.”

Through that approach, Baffinland will do more to meet Inuit aspirations and to find ways of monitoring environmental problems like dust generated by additional haul trucks moving along the Milne Inlet tote road, QIA said.

And they said the extra vessels required to ship increased amounts of iron ore from Milne Inlet would not create significant environmental impacts.

“We also believe adequate monitoring and mitigation plans are in place to oversee these additional activities,” QIA said.

With files from Beth Brown.

QIA letter to Northern Affa... by on Scribd

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(7) Comments:

#1. Posted by Knockout Ned on October 09, 2018

This Baffinland mine is proving to be more trouble than it’s worth. Exemptions from NIRB, the North Baffin Regional Land Use Plan, and now NIRB.

Why does our NLCA even contain these provisions for IPG’s if Inuit Orgs, the GN, and the Feds are just walking around them willy nilly?

The tragedy here is that QIA appears to have been successfully captured by BIMC.

NIRB outlined it’s recommendation not to allow the production increase in it’s recommendation on August 31st. In it, NIRB described how Baffinland “did not demonstrate that the potential impacts of increased shipping raised by Intervenors and community members, such as disturbance to marine mammals, birds and fish populations and fish populations and adverse effect on harvesting in the areas adjacent to Pond Inlet would be effectively monitored, mitigated and managed”. A lengthy and detailed report supports all this.

And now, we’re supposed to believe QIA when it says it believes such monitoring and mitigation are in place.

#2. Posted by Knockout Ned on October 09, 2018

And we are expected to believe this as an article of faith, over NIRB’s findings, despite little to no rationale or justification for it…

This system, whereby project proponents, DIO’s, and the Federal Government can simply just override the recommendations of Independent bodies like NIRB is structurally flawed.

Furthermore, we aren’t provided with any justification for the supposed non-viability of Baffinland - a company, by the way, who sells it’s iron to its parent company Arcelor Mittal directly. BIMC is not subject to the same market forces as a mine that sells Iron on the open market. We are again expected to accept Baffinland’s proximity to fiscal doom and imminent closure as another article of faith.

We nice, smiling, docile Inuit are increasingly being asked to just accept these things on faith. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so troubling.

#3. Posted by Knockout Ned on October 09, 2018

I don’t even really care one way or the other that the production increase goes ahead - I don’t live in Pond Inlet. What bothers me is the steady and gradual erosion of the powers and respect of our IPG’s, and the apparent inability of our DIO’s to adequately balance their responsibilities to Inuit under the NLCA.

#4. Posted by doubtful on October 10, 2018

and where will QIA be when the inuit, the hunters, the people who live off the land, start speaking up about the environmental impacts.  one man was already told not to drink the water around the deposit because its contaminated, apparently by BIM staff member.  where will QIA be?  in BIM’s back pocket.

#5. Posted by Skwaddy (Iqaluit ) on October 10, 2018

#1,2,&3.
What on earth do you expect from Inuit organizations ?
  The leadership respects the few bucks in their pocket, and that is
all.

#6. Posted by Putuguk on October 10, 2018

Permitting seems to have been unduly influenced by the proponent and RIA negotiating benefits at the same time.

When Inuit and communities have no firm eye on the benefits of a project, while still looking at its environmental costs, it taints the process.

NPC and the NIRB both have good processes. The processes respond to concerns. However, like everything, it is garbage in - garbage out.

If Inuit and community organizations only say they have environmental concerns because they want to force the highest price for their consent, you get the weird result we see today- 4.2 MT Ok; an extra 1.8 MT totally not good. 

This has created a public belief that projects are going ahead with major problems. There may only be one issue - show me the money!

IIBAs should be completely done and signed before the regulatory process proceeds to avoid this.

If a Nunavut Agreement amendment is needed, it should be done.

#7. Posted by pissed off on October 10, 2018

People wake up!!

What is the point of all these regulatory boards and agencies?
Where is the solid and honest science in all of this when even the Inuit orgs skirt around the issues when enough money and benefits are squeezed out of industry?

So many cariboos against so much money.
So much damage to the environment against so much money.


Shame

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