Mary River project needs separate Nunavik review, region’s impact review board says

Nunavik board: Cumulative and transboundary effects should be part of board’s own review process


The Nunavik Marine Region Impact Review Board has conducted a preliminary review of Baffinland Iron Mine Corp.’s final environmental impact statement for the Mary River iron mine project.

And the Nunavik board says it has concerns with the final EIS for the project, mainly in the sections dealing with the marine environment as well as the cumulative and transboundary effects assessment.

These effects should be subject to the review process provided for in the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement, said the board’s chairperson Putulik Papigatuk in a June 8 submission to the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

Baffinland wants to see the Mary River mine churn out about 18 million tonnes of iron ore a year, which will then be shipped out year-round to markets in Europe and Asia for at least 20 years — and some predict up to 100 years. The project, now under review by the NIRB, moves into final hearings scheduled for July in Iqaluit, Igloolik and Pond Inlet.

“Given the shipping activities that it entails, which are unprecedented in the North, the Mary River project will have significant impact” on the Nunavik Marine Region, said the Nunavik Marine Region Impact Review Board.

The board’s NIRB submission says that:

• the study area of the cumulative effects assessment undertaken by Baffinland does not include the full extent of the boundaries of the project; and,

• the transboundary effects assessment does not comprehensively include the potential impacts of year-round shipping and other related activities on the marine environment of the NMR.

And for these reasons the project should be subject to a separate Nunavik review, the board’s submission states.

That conclusion is also supported by Makivik Corp., which also sent in its submission to the NIRB.

Makivik has written to the federal minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development requesting that the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement Article 7 review process be initiated by the Nunavik Marine Region Impact Review Board.

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