Baffinland applies to continue shipping 6M tonnes of ore through Milne Inlet for 2 more years

Mining company says approval will avoid potential layoffs

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. is seeking a recommendation from the Nunavut Impact Review Board to increase its annual shipping out of Milne Inlet through 2024. (File photo)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. wants to continue shipping six million tonnes of iron ore from Milne Inlet through 2024.

The plan is outlined in documents the company filed earlier this month with the Nunavut Impact Review Board. The application overview states approval will avoid the need to scale back operations at the mine, which could come with job cuts.

Baffinland has a licence that allows the company to ship 4.2 million tonnes of ore per year from its Mary River iron mine, located on northern Baffin Island. However, it has received temporary permits since 2018 to increase that limit to six million tonnes.

The increase was originally intended to carry the company through a public hearing of its proposal to build a major expansion of Mary River, called Phase 2, which if approved would have allowed Baffinland to ship 12 million tonnes of iron ore from Milne Inlet carried from the mine to port via railway.

Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal rejected Phase 2 last year, and Baffinland pivoted to a different plan to sustain its operations while working on an already-approved rail project south from the mine through Steensby Inlet.

Baffinland CEO Brian Penney announced in February the company plans to return to working on that project later this year.

Peter Akman, Baffinland’s head of communications, said in an email that a permit to ship six million tonnes through 2024 will help secure the mine’s long-term stability as it pursues the Steensby project.

“Our hope is that this request will be processed in a timeframe that allows uninterrupted work through 2023,” Akman said.

The submission to the impact review board is accompanied by several documents, which include comments from the mayors and hunters and trappers organizations from communities in the surrounding region.

The mayors of Pond Inlet, Igloolik, Arctic Bay and Sanirajak have all issued statements calling for a positive decision from the impact review board this summer.

Several HTOs have done the same.

Igloolik’s HTO said it would not support Baffinland’s proposal.

Vandal will have the final say in approving or rejecting the impact review board’s recommendation.

In a letter dated April 20, Vandal shared his support for the proposal as well.

“The responsible ministers are of the view that Baffinland’s proposed timeline is reasonable and that the integrity of the process envisioned under the Nunavut Agreement and the act would be maintained for an assessment scoped to the proposed changes and related commitments,” he wrote.


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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by Truestory on

    Thank you B.I.M. for hiring and supporting my education as an electrical apprentice. I really enjoy working at Mary River site. I have met some awesome people from Nunavut, and from the south. I work with awesome fellow electricians, supervisors, and managers. They also teach, and, give me some advice on how to be a safe electrical worker. Also, when the lockdown was in effect, thank you for keeping me in your payroll. It kept me from collecting income support. I just hope B.I.M., gets the requested amount.

    • Posted by Up here on

      A beautiful advertisement to the masses. I wonder how many people have the same story? Or they dont even click on bim articles anymore?

  2. Posted by Taxpayer on

    As the Nunavut Co-Management Regime continues to go sideways, someone, probably the NIRB, should get a few things straight for the public.

    It does not matter if a Hamlet supports this or not. It does not matter if an HTO opposes this or not.

    The NIRB process is Inuit and Government getting together in what is essentially a court proceeding to determine whether or not some new activity creates too many environmental impacts than it is worth for Nunavut.

    In order to do their job, they need evidence, not opinion. And, if the NIRB is to be swayed by mere opinion, they are clearly not doing their job.

    The NIRB is not running a plebiscite on exporting more Nunavut iron ore. This is not popularity contest for iron mining.

    If a Hamlet or HTO has real evidence on this matter to aid NIRB in its decision, they should focus on providing it when asked, and presenting it public during hearings.

    When a Hamlet or HTO has a meeting to decide whether to do a letter of support for such things, that is a political process, which is neither here nor there.

    Hamlets have the GN to work with to get what they want. HTOs have NTI and the RIAs. They should use those avenues, not the NIRB.

    If the NIRB process is to become political, then what should happen is that we be allowed to elect Board members.

    As this project goes before regulators yet again, people and organizations should be mindful of staying in their lane so the process works as our founders intended to produce the best result.

    • Posted by John on

      Oh how I wish this were true. Unfortunately, during the Phase 2 hearings we saw that it was a popularity contest and the Pond Inlet HTO was able to sway enough groups including NIRB despite the evidence supporting the project to go forward.

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