Baffinland working on proposal to keep Mary River mine open

Company’s plan would maintain mine’s current operations and shipping limits

Baffinland staff meet with community members in Arctic Bay on Dec. 8, as part of consultations on the company’s sustained operations proposal. (Photo courtesy of Baffinland/Facebook)

By Emma Tranter

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. is developing a proposal to keep its Mary River iron ore mine running.

The plan, which the company calls a “Sustaining Operations Proposal,” comes a little more than a month after federal Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal’s Nov. 16 rejection of its phase two proposal to expand operations and double its shipping output from the mine, about 150 kilometres southwest of Pond Inlet.

Baffinland had said it needed to expand its Mary River operation in order to keep it viable. Without the government’s approval of the expansion, the company said it might have to close the mine.

Baffinland began posting information about its plan to keep the mine going on its Facebook page on Dec. 7.

The company recently finished a tour of three of the five North Baffin communities to get feedback on the proposal, said Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. spokesperson Peter Akman in an email.

“Following review of feedback from these parties, the final submission will be provided to the regulators,” he said. The Nunavut Impact Review Board advises the federal government on the social and economic impacts of development projects.

Akman said Baffinland representatives visited Arctic Bay, Clyde River and Pond Inlet, but bad weather meant the team’s flights to Igloolik and Sanirajak were cancelled. Visits to those communities will be made in the new year, he said.

Clyde River Mayor Alan Cormack told Nunatsiaq News he attended the meeting, where he told Baffinland representatives his concerns about the mine’s potential environmental impacts.

“I’m worried about the amount of shipping,” he said.

Despite that, Cormack said he wants to see more Inuit working at the mine if it were to stay open.

Nunatsiaq News was unable to reach the mayors of Arctic Bay and Pond Inlet.

Baffinland’s proposal seeks to continue the mine’s current operations of trucking and shipping six million tonnes of iron ore per year, which the company first started doing in 2018 and was approved again to do in 2022.

But continuing to operate at current levels means Baffinland needs to apply to the Nunavut Impact Review Board to amend the Mary River project certificate. At this point, it is only approved to ship 4.2 million tonnes in 2023.

“Baffinland will be asking communities to consider an option that will see the project continue at the current permitted levels,” Akman said.

He said the company is looking for feedback from the communities and will also “address communities’ questions and uncertainties arising from the minister’s rejection of the Phase 2 Proposal.”

“Application materials filed would reflect community and [Qikiqtani Inuit Association] feedback and information that has been part of previous regulatory and monitoring processes,” Akman said.

“It is our hope that this approach would reduce the regulatory burden for participants, while meeting the need to provide certainty for the operations.”

Brian Penney, Baffinland’s chief executive officer, said in a statement the company is asking Inuit to “consider options for regulatory and operational stability for the current project, to give all of us an opportunity to focus on the long-term vision for Mary River.”

“Ultimately, Baffinland must switch to a rail operation for the economic longevity of the project, but continuing the approved trucking and shipping levels in 2023 and beyond would allow us to sustain operations, maintain important commercial relationships, continue to provide employment and deliver benefits to communities on North Baffin Island,” he said.

Penney is scheduled to speak at the upcoming Northern Lights conference in Ottawa in February, where he plans to address the future of the Mary River mine.



Share This Story

(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by boo on

    What happened to, “all the workers will lose their jobs?”

    I’d say BIM management words are not to be trusted.

    • Posted by Your mindset is disgusting. on

      Rather than constantly dump on Baffinland why not be proud that they are willing to jump through these dumb, arbitrary hoops when so many other companies just throw morals to the wayside and don’t care about the people where they set up their industry.

      • Posted by Uhhh on

        These words are spoken by someone not from here or someone who truly does not care. Totally selfish and disgusting comment by a Karen.

        The first commenter speaks the truth.

        • Posted by Super on

          At the 4.2 million tonne output, they will eventually close the mine. Unsustainable. The eventual goal is to build an indoor ore crusher to reduce dust. That costs a fortune along with increased operational cost.

      • Posted by Northerner on

        I agree The first commenter speaks the truth.
        Baffin land was voted out by communities and the news lied saying the voters support them.
        Baffinland is in it for the money but they should be hiring more locals if they are going to stay. A lot of people applied for work and didn’t get hired. Baffinland pollution! The public housing system is f’d up.
        Everyone is blind to the truth!

      • Posted by Your mind set is dump on

        Baffinland could be mining every communities dump for iron and lots of other valuables.
        Baffinland is stealing the land.
        NHC is controlled by southerners.
        It shows you don’t know much and your understanding is disgusting.

  2. Posted by No Nonsense on

    Thats what happenes when a company says whatever it takes to break ground, then put it all to shove when it comes to paying forward on promises. Sorry about the ‘mindset’, but forgetting it all in lew of gratefulness is a far cry!

  3. Posted by Miner 49er on

    Has Baffinland fired the people who approved purchasing and shipping all that railway equipment to Mary River before it was authorized?
    Now we are being threatened that the mine might have to close down.
    The mine will close down — when the good ore is gone.
    How is the plan coming along that will enable Nunavummiut to build and operate the next mine in Nunavut without outside assistance and outside ownership?
    When Nunavummiut own and successfully operate a mine, the benefits will be far greater than anything being seen today.

    • Posted by Ian on

      Miner 49 er, joking me all this displeasure is just a symptom of broken promises, by the mine, NTI, RIA, GN, and do any local people really want to work there and the people that don’t, gimme,gimme.

  4. Posted by tired of the BS on

    close the mine let the people that say they dont need or want the mine see how the baffin communities regress backwards and lose out on all the taxes they 100% depend on. wait and see what will happen with mental illness and their standard of living. you all think its hard now, just wait. cant keep asking for hand out from the federal government and corporations if they cannot pay the taxes to provide what you so dearly are dependent on. fuel, food, houses, sled, boats, jet fuel and planes, sea lifts, clothes, they are all subject to the canadian taxes and business. how does a company hire more locals and keep giving what locals want when they cannot operate at what they are now. there has to be a common ground of growth and success for everyone. get along together and be grateful or shut the doors and show how business cannot operate due to the local mindset. either way its the locals that suffer, too bad they dont see that and arent a little more thankful. when he mine shuts down after they have had zero incidents with caribou who are you going to blame then when they are virtually extinct, same with the narwal.

    • Posted by jawbones on

      Worship the money, you all will be ok.

  5. Posted by Truestory on

    If only all the mine oposers realize that this is progress. If more Inuit are educated, their job prospects would sky rocket at B.I.M.. And the younger generation would have jobs in the mining industry. I hope to have more Inuit engineers in the future. Yup. This is progress.

    • Posted by Hey on

      Look at thain hiens engineering efforts. That’s progress and corruption doesn’t want it


Comments are closed.