Baffinland ships first load of iron ore to Germany from Nunavut mine
Mary River ore heads off to Germany
The first load of iron ore from the Mary River iron mine on northern Baffin Island is now on its way to Germany, Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. said Aug. 10.
A bulk ore vessel, the Federal Tiber, departed from the mine’s Milne Inlet port Aug. 8 carrying 53,624 tonnes of iron ore.
The ship is bound for the North Sea port of Nordenham, Germany where its cargo will be offloaded and eventually used to make high quality steel, Baffinland said.
“This is a great moment for Baffinland, its investors, and its employees, who have worked hard to reach this goal. In just two years, the men and women who work at the site, both Inuit or southern, have collaborated to build the mine and its infrastructure and have now moved the new port into full operation — this is their achievement and they can be proud of what they have accomplished,È Tom Paddon, Baffinland’s president and CEO said in a company statement on the first ore shipment.
Paddon also called the occasion a “significant moment for Nunavut with the world’s most northerly open pit mine now fully functional on Baffin Island.”
He said ore from the Naluujaak pit at Mary River mine will soon become an ingredient in European steel and that “Nunavut’s role in contributing to the global economy has just increased.”
“It’s important to note that, again working collaboratively, local communities, Inuit organizations, governments and industry have shown what can be achieved, and Baffinland is especially grateful for the support it has enjoyed in bringing this project to fruition,” Paddon said.
“We remain committed to the responsible stewardship of the project’s environment in both this and future phases of the project. We look forward to building our business in Nunavut and expanding the benefits that the project brings to Nunavummiut.”
Meanwhile, the Nunavut Impact Review Board has asked for input on Baffinland’s proposal to increase iron ore production and shipping from its Mary River mine.
In a July 22 letter to Baffinland and various stakeholders, the NIRB invites the public to comment on the mining company’s request, which will increase its iron ore production from 4.2 million tonnes per year to a maximum of 12 million metric tonnes.
That means an expansion of their shipping season from ice-free months only — roughly June to October — to a 10-month period stretching between June and March each year, including the November to March period when ice forms on Eclipse Sound.
To do that, Baffinland proposes 150 voyages a year, floating fuel storage, ice management vessels and a big increase in haul truck traffic along the tote road between Milne Inlet and Mary River.