Greenpeace launches petition to reject Baffinland expansion

Organization, Land Guardians call on federal minister to turn down Mary River mine proposal

Greenpeace Luxembourg activists gather in front of ArcelorMittal’s headquarters in Luxembourg last year to protest Baffinland’s proposed expansion of its Mary River mine. (Photo courtesy of Greenpeace/Anais Hector)

By Nunatsiaq News

Updated on Saturday, June 11, 2022 at 9:45 p.m.

Greenpeace has launched a petition urging rejection of Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s proposed expansion of its Mary River iron ore mine.

In a news release, the environmental advocacy organization says it’s calling on federal Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal to reject the proposed expansion.

The petition, which as of Friday morning had 201 signatures, was launched with the Nuluujaat Land Guardians, a group of Inuit hunters who last year blocked the mine’s airstrip and tote road in protest of the expansion plan.

“We ask everyone who cares about supporting Indigenous people and protecting Arctic wildlife to speak up and tell the government to reject this project. Please help us protect our Arctic home,” Daniel Inuarak, a spokesperson for the Guardians, said in the release.

In a written statement, Baffinland said it has made a commitment to positive socio-economic development that supports all Nunavummiut as well as to using industry-leading environmental safeguards.

“With limited economic opportunities offered elsewhere in the region, indirect and direct employment from the mine provides a stable economic base for the region,” Baffinland spokesperson Peter Akman wrote in an email.

Akman listed the impact the Mary River mine, which accounts for about one-quarter of Nunavut’s economic activity. As the largest employer in the Qikiqtani region, Baffinland has paid $315 million in wages to Inuit employees since 2014 and awarded $1.3 billion in contracts to Inuit companies, as well as having paid more than $4 million in dividends to residents of north Baffin communities from Arctic Co-op contracts.

Until this year, the Oakville, Ont.-based mining company had trucked six million tonnes of iron ore per year from the Mary River mine to Milne Inlet and shipped it out through the Tallurutiup Imanga conservation area.

It wants to double that annual ore output to 12 million tonnes, construct an additional dock at the port, and build a 110-km railway from the mine to Milne Inlet.

Under its current permit, though, Baffinland can only ship 4.2 million tonnes per year.

After Vandal rejected the company’s request for an emergency order to restore the limit to six million tonnes on June 1, Baffinland filed a notice with the Nunavut Labour Standards Compliance Office on June 3 which could lead to more than 1,300 of its workers being laid off after 16 weeks.

“This wasn’t a choice we were eager to make, we have been actively trying to avoid this situation,” Akman said then.

The company has maintained that expansion is critical to its financial standing and that rejection might put the mine into care and maintenance, meaning it would no longer produce iron ore.

The hamlets of Sanirajak, Arctic Bay and Pond Inlet all have expressed support for the proposal. Hunters and trappers organizations in each of those communities, though, still oppose the project, with some calling for a 10-year moratorium on the expansion plan.

On May 13, the Nunavut Impact Review Board recommended Vandal reject the proposed expansion, saying it has the potential to cause damage to marine mammals, caribou and other wildlife.

The final decision to approve or reject the proposal rests with Vandal, who is expected to make his decision 90 days from the board’s May 13 decision.

In June 2021, Greenpeace held a protest outside the ArcelorMittal headquarters in Luxembourg, a parent company and primary international ore supplier of the Nunavut mining enterprise.

The petition has a goal of 20,000 signatures.

Correction: This story was updated from an earlier version to add a comment from a spokesperson for Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. and to state the correct amount of money paid to residents of north Baffin communities from Arctic Co-op contracts.

Share This Story

(18) Comments:

  1. Posted by Follow the money on

    Who was funding these Land Defenders? Who was ghost writing their editorials? Where is this money coming from? And there we have it ladies and gents, using indiginous group to push their agenda… the deep pockets of eco-colonialism.

    • Posted by Money 1 on

      I believe funding was through Uutuuvak foundation….

  2. Posted by Northern Guy on

    So the other shoe has finally dropped and we can all clearly see who has been the driving force behind the so called “land guardians”. I find it very rich, given all the hullabaloo from Inuit regarding decolonization, to find that the Inuit of the North Baffin have basically become sock puppets for a multinational eco-colonialist group like Greenpeace! Oh the irony!

    • Posted by iThink on

      People don’t want to hear this, but it is hard to deny that lack of education makes people extraordinarily susceptible to the manipulation of information, in any direction.

  3. Posted by Land Guardians Stand With Greenpeace? on

    Well, I guess I know where to send my photographs of all the wasted animal pelts. I’m sure Greenpeace won’t turn on the “respectful Inuit Hunters just trying to survive” when they see the hundreds of pelts and pounds of flesh I see rotting and wasting every damn year.

  4. Posted by Meat eaters are the devil on

    Greenpeace thinks that the entire world’s population should be vegan and that meat-eaters are the devil. They are also funded by multinational billionaires like george soros and using sock puppets like greta thunberg to push their agenda. Sad to see the truth come out but it all makes sense now.

  5. Posted by 201 Signatures on

    201 signatures.. Maybe someone should start a petition for those in favor of the project, those that understand the need for economic development in the region, those who depend on Baffinland to feed their families.
    Great to see the land guardians support an organization who criticized for years the way Inuit hunt.

    • Posted by Former mine worker on

      I love how 8 people with two banners stand in front of a building in Luxemborg and it’s international news. Now 201 signatures on a petition, so significant. How about the 1300 people that’ll lose their jobs? How about all the inuit at the mine that will lose their careers? Jobs up north are a lot harder to find than down south. Think about the number of people you’re condemning to live on social assistance and welfare by signing that petition. Food’s extremely expensive up north and food insecurity during the winter is quite common in young families. Is greenpeace going to continue to play white saviour and open up a food bank? Oh wait, Baffinland already did that, but don’t even think about doing an article on Baffinland community outreach. It would be difficult to find another company to villify on the island.

  6. Posted by Truestory on

    Boycott Greenpeace.

  7. Posted by Green lease on

    Green peace is funded by Billionaires and believe it or not the oil and gas industry.

  8. Posted by Northern Guy on

    So the other show has finally dropped and we can see exactly who has been behind the so-called “land guardians”! I find it very rich given with all the hullaballoo regarding decolonization that the Inuit of the North Baffin have basically become sock puppets for multi-national eco-groups like Greenpeace!

  9. Posted by Truestory on

    Now we have Inuit Grenpeace? “Nunavut Land Guardians” sleeping with the enemy.

  10. Posted by Zack on

    I work at the mine in Mary river, and I’ve worked at many mines. I have seen many mines including this one do whatever is possible to protect the surrounding lands and do whatever it takes to please the local communities. Not only are the locals affected but the mine but the people who travel there from other places who have families at home to support as well. I think baffinland treats the local community works with lots of respect. I had a local helping me one day and he told me a story, said it was his first time back in 2 years since covid started, and bafinland paid him 80.000$ a year to sit at home until work started again.

  11. Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

    Let’s not forget not only the Land Guardians, now Greenpeace have come out of the closet but also the Liberal/NDP MP that supports the closing of the mines,
    Screw the people who work there to support and feed their families.
    Look at the MPs that have been elected by the people and what they have done to our standing.
    The only one that has done anything and federally has supported Nunavut was Leona. Do your research people. Everything that she, with the support of the Conservative Party , has done including the approval of the deep-sea port in Iqaluit and the new port in Pond Inletas well as many other projects has helped us economically. Everyone since has been an embarassment.

  12. Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

    If you think for one moment that Greenpeace is there to help you, I feel for you.
    For the future of our children and grandchildren, DO NOT SIGN THEIR PETITION.

  13. Posted by Angry Hunter on

    So, Greenpeace wants to hurt the Inuit economy. I remember that they banned seal pelts to be sold. They were unsuccessful and now they want to stop Inuit to go mining so that we can forever be in poverty.

  14. Posted by Pond Inlet Resident on

    I live in Pond Inlet. If Greenpeace knew the hunting practices of some of the NLG’s core members, they would distance themselves, for real. What they don’t know….

  15. Posted by Critical critic on

    Who asked them for help???

Comments are closed.