Judge says Baffinland’s financial documents are ‘not relevant’ in protest injunction
Justice Paul Rouleau ruled that Baffinland does not have to answer questions about financing, expansions or construction
Details of Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s finances, as well as details of construction at Mary River mine, are not relevant to a court battle between the company and protesters who blockaded the mine in February, a Nunavut judge ruled Tuesday.
Baffinland is seeking damages for the seven-day blockade of the Mary River mine’s tote road and airstrip and was granted an injunction against the protesters in early March, which states the protesters are not allowed on the mine site until the court action concludes.
The protesters, who call themselves the Nuluujaat Land Guardians, say they blockaded the mine because they feel they’ve been unfairly excluded from a hearing on whether the Mary River iron mine should expand, and they believe the mine expansion will have harmful environmental impacts.
As Baffinland and the protesters gear up for the larger court battle, the protesters are trying to get the injunction lifted.
The protester’s lawyers sought to file two annual reports from Baffinland’s parent company, ArcelorMittal, as well as a 2018 offering Baffinland gave to investors to raise US$550 million to finance its railway and dock expansion.
They also wanted information about the amount of federal wage subsidy the company received for COVID-19 and what has been upgraded at the Mary River mine.
This information, Judge Paul Rouleau said, is irrelevant to the injunction.
“[Baffinland] is not required to answer questions about company financing, expansions, construction or litigation with third-party contractors,” he said.
However, he said some internal documents and records that were filed over the span of the protest are relevant, such as communication between Baffinland and its employees and Baffinland and the unions, morning and afternoon meeting summaries, and a log of the mine’s daily activities.
It is important to see if the way Baffinland communicated with its employees contributed to the hostility Baffinland said existed, Rouleau said.
Those documents are required to be filed, Rouleau said.
No date or timeline has been set by Baffinland or the protesters to resume a cross examination, Rouleau said, adding that he is leaving it up to the two parties to decide the next steps.