June 14, 2012: Mary River Teleconference

The chairperson of the Mary River Project Committees (MRPC) held a teleconference to discuss the NIRB’s upcoming final hearings and included these participants; Joseph Padluq (sp), Jerry Natanine, Solomon Qanatiaq, Jesse Nutarak, Solomon Awa, Ejetsiak Peter (sp) and Kunuk Ooyookuluk (sp).

During the conference call, chairpersons were asked to answer three main questions and this is what they had to say:

“What are the remaining questions for Baffinland that need to be answered in terms of topics that need to be brought up?”

  • Shipping, rail route
  • Employment
  • Archaeological areas
  • Tunneling through land (how close it is to lake that has fish)
  • Impacts on wildlife (land-based and water/marine -based)
  • Impacts to invertebrates when there is ice
  • Bird sanctuaries within the vicinity
  • Boats that would be monitoring will need strong horsepower
  • Blasting is going to affect permafrost by creating cracks within them = melt faster
  • IIBA privatization vs. public social problems
  • Wildlife compensation
  • Training/employment plans as 50% of employee will require post-secondary accreditation (this is a shared concern with GN. Perhaps an opportunity to work together)
  • Sonar devices should be removed
  • Outpost camps, people who live around the lands
  • Insurance as we will need to protect what is valuable to us
  • During the winter time, people travelling to Baffin Island will need assistance (the ships will open up the ice)
  • NIRB to consider their decision-making process in relation to Inuit owned lands
  • Caribou migration in connection with the rail route – caribou will not turn away from their main paths
  • Section 26 deals with confidential matters does there need to be any confidentiality? What are the confidential matters as communities are connected to those matters
  • How has the archaeology of Steensby Inlet port site area been handled?

“If the Minister approved the Project Certificate, what would your thoughts be?”

  • For our future prosperity our children and grandchildren will have a secure employment. We would want the Company (Baffinland) to proceed in a well-managed way.
  • Understanding the benefits and rights in detail is what I want my future to be.
  • Communications, collaboration as this project is connected to our body. We keep hearing about the good things out of it. We need to continue thinking about how it will work out.
  • I would like for the mitigation and monitoring committees to be setup immediately. The committees could start monitoring and mitigating impacts as well as training and employment initiatives that can be promoted by the Department of Education, especially since employment will greatly rely upon education. On the international stage, I would appreciate environmental cooperation on studying emission of gases and dust and how they will impact the environment.
  • When there is disagreement, working together is a good start even before the mine begins to meet together. Helping out other communities, plan ahead and put plans in place ahead of time.
  • It would be great however; communities may end up being disrespected in my mind. If we put a plan in place for the future and from our past (as we do not want to avoid anyone) for people working towards Mary River to continue by using what they know.
  • If they proceed with storing fuel on water, it will create conflict.
  • To provide support to those that need it. Helping each other for the better and tell the truth.
  • There has not been a project of this scale and the impact will be great, how will this mine be different from any other mine? How are you better? I would want a national search and rescue station in the Arctic at least a portion of a station.
  • We have to unify and work together in what we will be saying and be well-mobilized.

“What are other recommendations for Baffinland? Are there any last requests?”

  • Can the Minister consider whether or not the marine wildlife studies have been handled well and not rushed? Get a third party (not from Baffinland) perhaps from QIA or the government.
  • Sonar devices should not be used
  • The numerous ships that will be passing through the waters during the winter period will impact travelers for example from Clyde River to Igloolik. They will need some kind of indicators and things in place that will tell them if it is not safe to cross - safety
  • Keep monitoring, studying and evaluating and proceed in good faith. I liked the idea of having a review every 5 years. Have it well documented in paper and not by Baffinland
  • Keeping our land and environment in mind when the mine is proceeding along with Inuit training and employment
  • Wildlife compensation will have to be well planned and setup as large marine mammals such as beluga, narwhals and walrus will leave the area and disappear. Monitor the movement or disappearance of wildlife with as much detail
  • The process to take a closer look at the alternative route for the rail. And there needs to be closer working relationship with DFO on methods to study the marine food chain. Researchers should not be based down south - They should be more in tune with Inuit and be more a part of Inuit society.
  • The electrocution of fish should be understood before activities take place
  • Ballast water from the ships – how much impact it would have
  • Is there a fund set aside for communities to purchase country food from other communities when they do not have access to certain country foods – it is in place already? This would be handled by the Board of Directors