Hearing on Baffinland’s expansion plans to resume April 12

Gathering will run April 12-21 at Iqaluit’s Aqsarniit Hotel

A contentious public hearing on the proposed expansion of the Mary River iron mine will resume April 12 in Iqaluit and run until April 21, the Nunavut Impact Review Board said Feb 12. (Baffinland photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

Updated at 7:40 p.m.

A contentious public hearing on the proposed expansion of the Mary River iron mine will resume April 12 and run until April 21, the Nunavut Impact Review Board says.

The board considered Bafflinland Iron Mines Corp.’s proposed expansion of the mine southwest of Pond Inlet during a public hearing from Jan. 25 to Feb. 6. Near the end of that two-week period, the board decided to extend the hearing.

The board announced the date for the hearing’s continuation Feb. 12, in what it calls a “procedural direction” document that also includes a draft agenda. The board said it will hold the gathering at the Aqsarniit Hotel and Conference Centre in Iqaluit.

The board is responsible for assessing the environmental and socio-economic impacts of development projects and advising the federal and territorial governments on whether they should go ahead.

Baffinland wants to build a 110-kilometre railroad that would carry up to 12 million tonnes of iron ore each year to a port at Milne Inlet, as well accommodate up to 176 ship transit per year. Opponents of the expansion say it will affect caribou in the area and narwhal in the waters around the port.

The board has invited five representatives from each of the seven communities of the North Baffin region: Pond Inlet, Igloolik, Hall Beach, Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord.

In addition, the board said it wants to ensure the community representatives come from a “broad demographic,” including women, elders, youth, hunters and trappers organizations, and hamlets.

Starting April 12, the board will try to complete the technical session than ran a week behind schedule.

It hopes that work can be done in time for a community roundtable to start April 16 and then run until April 21.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the hearing will be available to the public by teleconference and Zoom, but in-person attendance at the Iqaluit venue will be by invitation only, the board said.

The board is still working on a way to connect Pond Inlet residents and will state how they’ll do that in a future announcement that will include a final agenda.

For more information, see the document embedded below.

Correction: This article was updated to correct the dates of the public hearing.

210212-08MN053-NIRB Ltr Par... by NunatsiaqNews

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(17) Comments:

  1. Posted by John K on

    I have my fingers crossed that this gets the go ahead with an equitable distribution of economic benefits.

    I’m afraid I am probably in the minority in this regard though.

  2. Posted by northbaffin on

    And QUK is still not recognized as an intervenor, good thing.

    • Posted by south baffin pretends to be northbaffin on

      We can see through you. We know you are a south baffin QIA.

  3. Posted by Withheld on

    There it is. Iqaluit arsaniit hotel is where you need your protest to be.

  4. Posted by Helena on

    QUK may not recognized yet, but it will come. The people of the far north communities have already united to both benefit from and protect their natural resources. Anyone trying to put this down only has their own interests in mind, and not the interest of the actual affected people. QIA and NTI sat in their beds and did nothing. These papers and comment sections have become a façade to create doubt and try to separate, but people in North Baffin know better. Lol, even CBC knows better

  5. Posted by Anonymous on

    Unfortunately, this whole process likely means very little. In the end, the Federal Minister will have the final say on whether this goes ahead or not.

  6. Posted by John burch on

    If baffinland is so inviermently concerned why are their no windmill or solar farms in there plans once the railroad is in it is to late .right now there is very few wildlife along the tot road at the beginning of the mine there was tons.baffinland is doing well it just that mr penny is greedy

    • Posted by Ask the Right Questions on

      Baffin has to make money first before looking at alternative energy sources. Solar power? Got to ask if you have spent anytime in the north? What good is solar power in the winter months as well the snow can/will cover the panels making it not a viable solutions. If you so worried about this method of energy…do you practice what you preach or just a rabble rouser? If groups are worried about the environment then Baffin should stop all the incentives to the locals and shut down, feed your families then. How?? Federal handouts that’s how, where do you people think the money comes from? It comes from the 700 hard working folks that we denied almost a week with their families…..not one mention about those contributors to our society huh? Right on CBC you got it right. 1500 hundred caribou on the 5th largest island in the world, ya those guys are going to worry about a rail. Ive seen thousands of migratory caribou in route to breeding grounds they don’t care what’s in the way. Actually going to circle back to a comment that hunter made last year that he seen a caribous stop and turn around and not cross a ski doo track. If the animals are that sensitive that they won’t cross a skidoo track maybe we should give back our skidoos and go back to the traditional ways our people always hide behind. Id say caribous never got chance anyway, hunter would have shot it lol. Baffin land is good for our people, we earn income and respect through hard work. Living in empty land that is full of resources that can help our people move ahead in this world with pride. I remember cold, no food darkness and will not go back to old ways but will remember the hardships and take pride for learning new skills to feed me and my family.

  7. Posted by Qanuqtau on

    I thought the technical part if the hearing was supposed to be done by now. Was that not the motion passed in pond inlet? I thought the motion pushed for the technical part to be done before NIRB left pond inlet.

    Why is there still a technical part that needs to be heard. This will only delay the process, will it not?

    Why are the round tables not being held in pond inlet where people can go face to face and say their peace?

    5 people does no justice to speak for the whole community! Round tables need to be held in pond inlet!

  8. Posted by Consistency on

    The 5 people from each community should be chosen and then each community should have community meetings so people can share their concerns or whishes to those 5.
    The 5 are our representatives and just because they are our family members or friends, or just other communities members does not mean they understand what everyone is thinking.
    This is a big responsibility for these 5 people from each community. we all deserve to know who they are and to have a chance to speak to them.
    Lets not send them into the meetings without any prior knowledge.

    • Posted by Shela on

      Of course, that is the course it must take. Initially the people asked were ones who were truely interested, not family members as you assume. Keep your shorts on, it will unfold, and if you are someone in the northern communities, then your concerns are paramount.

      • Posted by Happy to Help Member on

        Shela that was a bit rude. There are a lot of people excited about this. I cant wait to start working as a group, with in the northern communities, and point resources in a direction that benefit people equally.
        I think there are a lot of good things to come from this. I definitely want to be at round table as a member, I have a lot of ideas that I think could help. I look forward to hearing how it can be more official, so QUK please get on the radio, lets get talking on ways we can grow our communities.
        We are so wealthy iin resources up here, our culture and lifestyle should represent that, and thats where I want to help.

      • Posted by Consistency on

        By mentioning family members is just because even if a cousin (i dont knw who the 5 are yet) is one of the 5 doesnt mean they know what I am thinking or can speak for me with out asking. I am not someone that choses who goes or someone that will be chosen but still want all our thoughts (for or against) to be known by the 5 representing us.

  9. Posted by Scratching my head on

    How did we go from being a culture where we live off the land and respect it, to a culture where we have no problem tearing up the land for profits?

    • Posted by John on

      Culture and tradition are great things. However, if we had never opened up our minds to a changing culture and new traditions then things and people would be stuck. Consider whether telling a woman that for the sake of tradition and culture she should be stuck staying at home and raising babies as her only option in life. Suggesting that Inuit should rely only on traditional hunting and fishing or living off the government as a ways of survival is equally oppressive. Nobody should deny the Inuit their right to develop options beside the traditional ones as a means to provide for themselves and their families. Southerners don’t get to preach how the north should leave their land pristine and have no development options when they and their ancestors obviously didn’t take that same advice. Maybe the Inuit will just do a better job at making a profit of the land in a responsible way.

    • Posted by Soothsayer on

      Many Inuit may not realize this, but it is a widely believed that their / your ancestors, the Thule, migrated into what is now the Canadian Arctic and Greenland about 1000 to 800 years ago from Northern Alaska (and earlier from Siberia) in search of iron. There were two known sources at the time; meteoric iron in northern Greenland, and Norse Iron, that was being traded with the Tuniit (or Dorset) people on south western Baffin Island (google Tanfield Valley, or the Nanook Archaeological site).

      Why? The Thule had become accustomed to iron use and had incorporated it into their hunting technology prior to their migration across the Bering Strait. Those sources, from Mongolia and probably China, had become disrupted during the expansion of the Mongolian empire.

      Interesting to consider when you think your ancestors would not have torn up the land for iron, I’m not so sure they wouldn’t have, granted they would not have had the tools to do it at the scale we see today so the impacts would barely be noticeable.

  10. Posted by Steve Hill on

    I am pro Environment and pro conservation. And, I would think Globally, Canada has lead the way on many of the issues in this area. The traditional way of life for both people, and the wildlife inhabitants who live in the regions where Mineral / Oil extraction takes place should, and needs to be protected.

    And to a large extent, environmental impact studies are designed to ensure that minimal damage, to the greatest extent possible will be inflicted upon the Environment.

    But the economic reality is : Canada is a resource based Economy. From Fishing in the Atlantic provinces, Hyro generation in Quebec, Gold and mineral extraction in Northern Ontario, wheat & grain production in the prairie provinces, Oil extraction in northern Alberta, Aluminum extraction and smelting in British Columbia, our economy is very depended on base resources mining and processing.

    Once a project like Baffinlands has been given the go -ahead, then the role of the local Government has to be to support local Business, to be Business Friendly. Tieing up Baffinland expansion in endless debate and legal challenges makes Nunavut a less attractive investment opportunity,

Comments are closed.