A Capesize ship is the largest of the dry bulk carrier class of ships at 300 metres long and 50 metres wide. (Photo courtesy of Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.)

‘Fewer crossings, less noise, less disturbances:’ Baffinland makes ship upgrade

Company moved close to 6.1 million tonnes of ore on Capesize bulk carrier vessels, says company spokesperson

By Jorge Antunes

Updated on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023 at 5:30 p.m.

Nunavut’s only iron mine moved more ore than ever before this year and used fewer ships to do it.

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. shipped close to 6.1 million tonnes from its Mary River mine on northern Baffin Island in 2023, according to a Nov. 1 post on the company’s Facebook page. The previous company record was 5.9 million tonnes of ore, set in 2019.

Baffinland’s ships also made fewer crossings this year, thanks to the introduction of Capesize bulk carrier class of ships, which are more than double the size of carriers previously used by the company.

The Capesize class of carrier is owned by German company Oldendorff. It’s one of the largest in the world at 300 metres long and 50 metres wide.

“Capesize ships, silent ships, these are all things that the public had asked for; fewer crossings, less noise, less disturbances,” said Baffinland spokesperson Peter Akman on Monday.

These carriers also leave a smaller carbon footprint, said Akman. He compared the difference to the operating efficiency of a fridge from 1998 to one from 2023.

The announcement follows federal Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal’s approval Oct. 17 of the mining company’s proposal to ship more ore while it raises funds to build a 149-kilometre railway south from the mine to Steensby Inlet, and ship from there.

Dubbed the Sustaining Operations Proposal, the plan is a pivot from the company’s previous goal of shipping 12 million tonnes of ore annually out of Milne Inlet.

Vandal rejected that plan in November 2022 in the face of local concern about the effect increased mining and shipping activity in the area would have on wildlife that hunters depend on for sustenance.

Now, Baffinland is allowed to ship a total of 6.9 million tonnes of iron ore through the 2024 shipping season. The agreement will have to be renewed after that.

Akman said the company is “pleased” by the government’s approval of its sustaining operations plan.

The timeline for the Steensby Inlet project is uncertain.

“It’s an expensive project,” Akman said. “It takes time to raise the funds.”

Mining makes up 37 per cent of Nunavut’s gross domestic product, behind government services which contribute 30 per cent, according to data provided by Tom Hoefer, executive director of NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines.

Baffinland’s final shipment of iron ore for this year left Milne Inlet on Oct. 31.

Correction: This article has been updated from an earlier version to remove an incorrect reference to how a source provided a comment.


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(23) Comments:

  1. Posted by 😂 on

    That’s all BS 😂

  2. Posted by pissed off on

    Funny guy, can you say why ??????

    Did you pull this out of thin air again ?


  3. Posted by really? on

    Sounds like pillow talk to me with no actual figures. If you down vote show me the actual numbers. Snoore

    • Posted by LMGTFY on

      Baffinland publicly posts a lot of reports that you can search up for yourself. I’m looking at this one right now from 2021 that shows they estimated they were going to have to take 72-78 trips.

      It will be interesting to see the actual numbers later this year when/if its publically released.

  4. Posted by Science and IQ will prove this wrong on

    Ok, do your research – “silent” ships are NOT silent. Contact any scientist that works on acoustic monitoring and any hunters who are out on the water. Time will show that these ships are NOT what Bathroomland claims them to be…

    • Posted by Really on

      Those would be the hunters out there with their very loud outboard motors specifically trying to get close to whales to kill them? They’re complaining about the noise from ships?

      • Posted by You obviously have never been on a hunt in Pond on

        I have been blessed with a few hunts were we waited as quietly as possible parked on a pan of ice and waiting for them to surface near our spot. Not on loud outboard that you claim to see. We also wait long the shoreline as they migrate near known routes. These are a lot quieter then a big ore ship transiting back and forth.

        • Posted by Take “1” on

          Most boats would be out there whenever the narwhals are near by. Happens all the time.

        • Posted by facepalm on

          “I have been blessed with a few hunts were we waited as quietly as possible parked on a pan of ice and waiting for them to surface near our spot. Not on loud outboard that you claim to see. We also wait long the shoreline as they migrate near known routes. These are a lot quieter then a big ore ship transiting back and forth.”

          Blessed with a few hunts firing several rounds indiscriminately into the water when they breach with high power rifles, who knows if one was hit or not. did you use hollow points? Harvester’s boats are ‘a lot quieter’ than the ore carriers except they’re not, they’re loud too, higher sound than the low hum of an ore carrier so much so that the whales know the difference between the big and small boats…please stop fetishizing harvesting in Nunavut as if it’s totally benign to the environment. It has an impact too. Just different and shouldn’t be excluded from the bigger picture. It’s not an either or thing. What’s the big picture here?

        • Posted by Do it traditionally then. on

          I’d take your comment a lot more seriously if you weren’t all lined up on your ice and beaches with LOUD OUTBOARD MOTORS sitting right there waiting to be turned on so you can race out there and slaughter the narwhals with firearms.

          If you actually cared about the animals you wouldn’t sell their meat. Hunters don’t sell meat. Butchers do.

    • Posted by Baffinland Communications on

      Baffinland conducts extensive research and acoustic monitoring, and our ongoing collaboration and consultation with North Baffin hamlets and HTOs informs every aspect of our operations. The freighter, Nordic Nuluujaak, was designated ‘Silent’ by DNV – the world’s leading classification society and a recognized advisor for the maritime industry. “The Silent (E) Notation is a select designation given to vessels with a demonstrated ability to effectively reduce environmental noise emissions, consistent with a focus on protecting sensitive marine ecosystems.”
      More details here: https://www.marinelog.com/news/pangaea-bulker-is-the-first-to-gain-silent-e-notation/

  5. Posted by John K on

    Let’s not pretend that Baffinland can do anything to appease their detractors.

    If ArcelorMittal pulled out of Nunavut all together you all would still be here complaining. First you would take issue with how they did it then you would whine about the lost revenue.

    Nunavut is it’s own worst enemy.

    • Posted by The typical we will pullout crap I see on

      Please leave if you aren’t happy here, absolutely no one is stopping you. We will stay home and pick up the pieces when you leave. You will also leave when the ore is gone and we will have figure out a way to survive so we need the environment to be livable when you go. We will not be blackmailed ever.

      • Posted by John K on

        I was born in Frobisher Bay but if it’s any consolation to you we already left. I keep up with the news because all my family is still there and I’m frequently in the Territory for contract work. And frankly, even in spite of the finger wagging, intolerance and profound incompetence … I miss my home.

        Your response is almost comically insecure.

  6. Posted by Baffinland Communications on

    Baffinland used 75 ships in the 2023 shipping season, shipping more iron with fewer ships. We post regular updates on our social media pages, and you can also find full details about all of our operations, including shipping, on our website, here: https://baffinland.com/document-portal/

  7. Posted by Umingmak on

    The so-called “land defenders” (AKA job & prosperity opposers) will still complain.

  8. Posted by Johanne Coutu-Autut on

    The engine may be silent but the hull crunching through the ice is not.

    • Posted by John on

      Johanne… shipping is done during the summer from August to October when there is no ice. You will need to find some other reason than this to complain about what is a great attempt to be better than the average ship out there. Why not be positive and celebrate the attempts to be better why be so negative all the time? There is always room for improvement but if people like you just crap on all the attempts to improve… why bother trying to improve?

    • Posted by facepalm on

      They don’t break ice, which, maybe they should start doing so that the whales come in to Pond and follow the ships like the Elders have said many times they do. Hunters would get out faster in the season too if they broke ice.

    • Posted by Johanne Coutu-Autut on

      I never said that your ship is breaking through the ice (like an icebreaker) there is always some floating ice around in August and October. Bumping into to them on a metal hull, makes noise. Noise is amplified under water much more so than through air. marine mammals are very sensitive to un natural noises.

      • Posted by Ask-a-whale on

        That’s right! Marine mammals are sensitive to noise and extremely intelligent animals…probably why the Elders keep saying that the whales know the difference between the types of boats in their waters, including the difference between the high-pitched outboards on hunting boats vs. cargo ships. Are the whales bothered by sealift, cruise ships and their zodiacs, coast guard, military, commercial fishing vessels and super-yachts or just Baffinland’s cargo ships?

  9. Posted by NIMBYism on

    Right…because the caribou on Baffin Island are sustainable and not being over-hunted by 10 communities hunting from the same island bound herd…people don’t like mining but, here they are using computers to comment on Nunatsiaq stories and who doesn’t have a cell phone these days…

  10. Posted by Truestory on

    Hmm…Cruise ships, and the ships that gets our goods here? Same noises.

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