Temporary injunction against blockade of Baffinland mine to continue
“There are a lot of new materials and submissions that need to be considered,” judge says during Saturday hearing
The temporary injunction that ended the blockade of Baffinland’s Mary River mine last week will remain in effect until judge Susan Cooper is able to review documents submitted to the court during a hearing on Saturday morning, Feb. 13.
“There are a lot of new materials and submissions that need to be considered,” she said.
On Feb. 4, a group of seven hunters from Arctic Bay and Pond Inlet arrived at the mine site and shut down the airstrip and road that leads to Milne Inlet, in protest of a proposed expansion of the mine that would double its output.
While the Nuluujaat Land Guardians ended the blockade on Feb. 10 — the same day the temporary injunction was ordered — Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. is seeking to have an injunction extended that would further prevent them from staging additional blockades of the company’s Mary River mine in the future.
During his presentation before the court on Saturday, Baffinland’s lawyer Brad Armstrong cited a line from a news release issued by the guardians after they ended the blockade on Wednesday: “The Guardians are committed to continuing action on the land unless they can see progress in proposed meetings.”
“The injunction should stay,” said Armstrong, “It provides certainty that Baffinland can operate.”
He also highlighted that, as of Saturday’s hearing, the guardians had not promised that they wouldn’t block the project.
Lori Idlout, who is representing the guardians, reiterated what she said during the first hearing on Feb. 10, that an injunction isn’t necessary.
“We don’t think extending is necessary.” said Idlout. “The defendants have responded immediately to the court’s verbal order.”
Idlout also clarified that the news release quoted by Armstrong should not be inferred as a sign the defendants could be going back to the airstrip or tote road. She also indicated that the guardians have all returned to their homes and are now preparing to have conversations with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.
“They are few in numbers and their resources are focused currently on meeting with Inuit organizations to advance their environmental goals and protecting Inuit rights,” said Idlout.
As of yet, Idlout says the specifics of the meeting between the guardians, NTI and QIA has yet to be worked out.
While Cooper did say that the temporary order would be in effect until a further order is issued by the court, she didn’t elaborate on when that would be.