Baffinland says focus now is on keeping Mary River mine open

The company has previously stated the Mary River mine may have to close temporarily if its expansion wasn’t allowed

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. has not said whether it plans to shut down its Mary River mine, following a rejection of the company’s expansion plans. (File photo)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. isn’t saying if it will shut down its Mary River mine, following the federal government’s rejection of its expansion plans this week.

Over the course of a four-year public hearing, the company said it may have to temporarily close the mine if the expansion wasn’t approved — a claim some opponents of the proposal called a threat.

On Friday, Baffinland spokesperson Peter Akman did not say whether the company has any immediate plans that would affect work at the mine.

He said that decision would be based on a few issues, like if the price of iron increases or decreases and whether Baffinland will be allowed to maintain its shipping limit of six million tonnes per year.

Following the rejection of its expansion plan Wednesday by federal Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal, Baffinland has requested a meeting with Vandal and continues to hold meetings with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Akman said.

Vandal rejected the company’s expansion plans, known as Phase 2, agreeing with the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s conclusion that the expansion has the potential to cause environmental damage, with no evidence that it could be mitigated.

Baffinland’s plans included doubling its shipping output to 12 million tonnes per year from six million, and building a 110-kilometre railroad and an additional dock at the Milne Inlet port for shipping.

For the time being, Baffinland has moved away from its expansion plans to focus on keeping the Mary River mine open, Akman said.

The company’s permit to ship six million tonnes of iron will expire this year. If another permit isn’t issued, Baffinland will only be allowed to ship 4.2 million tonnes in 2023.

Kyle Allen, Vandal’s spokesperson, confirmed the minister’s office received Baffinland’s request and is committed to meeting with the company. He did not say if a time has been set for a meeting.

Baffinland is Nunavut’s largest private-sector employer and the largest contributor to its economy.

The company estimates the expansion would have generated about $4.7 billion in tax revenue for Nunavut, royalty and tax revenue for the federal government and royalties to Inuit associations, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association over the lifetime of the mine’s expansion.


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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by David on

    2500 BS and only 200 Inuit,
    Some explanation needs clear mentioning who are the managers of this gong show of 6 million tons who can’t decide to cut half employees take away the kaaluunaks,

    Name a few Ulureak? ,Paul Q, Joe T ,

    who else in Inuit higher positions are in this small group that can’t easily be understood on simple facts of Inuit way of life to be impacted for not to over proceed of increase that we had the answer be heard from Vandal thank you as you heard Inuit for future use.


    • Posted by Good on

      Good job dave man

  2. Posted by Confused on

    So there are three different stories post on this subject. Mr. Penney says he is disappointed and concerned and not sure how it will effect the decisions going forward on the Project. Mr. Akman says there is a concern and if they can’t continue with the 6 mill there could be a problem. Hopefully Mr. Akman realizes they have to continue to apply for that increase. Mr. Quassa says we are okay with the decision and we will visit each community before Christmas to discuss this with the hamlets. There is nothing in the stories that support this will make a difference to the project of the decision. Sounds like Mr. Q will be going into the communities to say simply if you don’t agree with the project you will not be getting the stuff that Baffinland said they would give such a s daycare center’s.
    The Minister says no to the phase 2 development but reminds Baffinland that they can produce the higher tonnage but just can’t ship it. How many stock piles will they have at the port? While the Minister said QIA, Baffinland and the communities need to work closer together he didn’t say get you @#$# together and then I will approve the project. Reality is unless Baffinland can mitigate the damage its causing to the environment there will be no phase 2. Unless of course we continue to over hunt and put the at risk species at extinction and there are not animals left to hunt then maybe we could be all resource development.
    I would suggest Baffinland decide who will speak on their behalf and then everyone stick to the same story.

  3. Posted by Johnny on

    This is by far the best mine that Nunavut could ask for, and it is being driven to the ground.

  4. Posted by Simple Logic on

    Simple logic here.
    There is a really easy way to lighten the financial burden that Baffinland is feeling right now.

    Start chopping the jobs in Oakville.
    Recruiting in your title; GONE! (hiring freeze on!)
    Railroad in your title; GONE!
    Assistant to whoever; GONE!
    The list goes on!

    Unfortunately, the problem here is management protecting management, and the workers at the mine are the ones with an uncertain future again!

  5. Posted by Inuk guy on

    What about the rest of us on Baffin,we are Qikitaluk too.

  6. Posted by Brian on

    Wondering if BIM never had plans to keep the jobs? What was their intention the whole time? Now they are ready to keep the jobs after they said ” they are laying off workers for 19 times now. They wee going to close down once P2 is not approved. Now they want to keep the workers. How does a company stay in the north that never makes money………? 🤔

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