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The review board recommends against expanding the mine on Baffin Island

CAMBRIDGE FLIGHT, Nunavut –

The Nunavut Impact Assessment Board recommends against proceeding with the proposed expansion of an iron ore deposit at the northern tip of Baffin Island.

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. is looking to expand its Mary River iron ore mine near Pond Inlet by doubling its annual production from 6 to 12 million tons.

The mine, considered one of the richest iron mines in the world, opened in 2015 and supplies about six million tons of ore a year.

The mine says the expansion will double employment at the mine to more than 1,000.

The review panel on Friday said in a statement that the proposal has the potential to have significant and long-term negative impacts on marine mammals, the marine environment, fish, reindeer and other habitats. other wildlife, vegetation and fresh water.

The council said these negative impacts could also affect Inuit harvest, culture, land use and food security.

“The Board concluded that the proposal as assessed could not be implemented in a way that would protect the ecological integrity of the Nunavut Settlement and that would protect and promote present and future well-being. of residents and communities of the Nunavut Settlement Council said region and Canada in general.

“Therefore, the council recommended to the Minister that the Phase 2 Development Proposal as assessed should not be allowed to proceed at this time.”

Federal Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal thanked the board for the work and said the government would consider the report and its proposal.

“I will be taking the time to review the report with federal officials,” Vandal said on Twitter. “A decision will be made after appropriate due diligence and comprehensive analysis, including whether the consultation mandate has been met.”

The mining proposal was met with resistance, including from hunters and trappers in the communities closest to the mine.

Inuit hunters say they fear the expansion of the beak could accelerate the continued decline of the narwhal populations they rely on for food.

In a letter to the board of directors last week, the Mittimatalik Organization of Hunters and Trappers said the mine had compromised their ability to harvest a vital food source.


This Canadian Press report was first published on May 13, 2022.


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