After round-one challenge, Baffinland readies for second technical meeting

Meeting set for June 17 to June 19 in Iqaluit

The Nunavut Impact Review Board is seen here holding its first technical hearing into the planned expansion of Baffinland Mines Corp.’s Mary River iron mine in Iqaluit. A second technical meeting will be held from June 17 to June 19. (Photo by Jane George)

By Jane George

Following criticism that they haven’t provided enough information, Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. filed a slew of documents with the Nunavut Impact Review Board this week on various aspects of its proposed expansion of the Mary River iron mine, including reports on sea ice management, railway operations and public engagement.

The filing of these documents followed a marine monitoring and management workshop held earlier this month in Pond Inlet.

The company’s latest filings aim to reassure some of the mine expansion’s critics—including the Qikiqtani Inuit Association—before a second technical meeting slated for next month in Iqaluit.

The mine expansion would see an increase in shipping to about 175 round-trip transits a year and the construction of a 150-kilometre railway.

The upcoming three-day technical meeting will take place June 17 to June 19, starting at 9 a.m. in Iqaluit’s Cadet Hall.

At the meeting, Baffinland will get a chance to provide more feedback on issues like cumulative effects and icebreaking, and other parties—including representatives from north Baffin communities, the QIA, federal and territorial government departments and environmental groups—will be able to respond to “outstanding technical issues,” the NIRB said.

A roundtable discussion will discuss environmental and socio-economic impacts of the mine expansion.

The NIRB said the second technical meeting is structured to facilitate “informal, face-to-face discussions” to address unresolved issues raised during an earlier technical meeting and to talk about new information provided by Baffinland.

After the first technical meeting in early April, the QIA told the review board it didn’t have enough information from Baffinland to prepare for a public hearing for the project, scheduled for Pond Inlet next September.

The QIA said the missing information included an icebreaking assessment, a simulated modelling report, a cumulative effects assessment, and about 40 separate management and monitoring plans.

A final public hearing on the project is still slated to go ahead Sept. 16 to Sept. 20 in Pond Inlet. The final public hearing means recommendations will be made by the NIRB to the minister by Nov. 4—about two weeks after the Oct. 21 federal election.

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