Mary River

Impacts to Inuit, Communities and the Qikiqtani Region

The area that will be affected by the Project is large and diverse. The land and waters of the North Baffin Region support many resources. The waters of Eclipse Sound are key habitat for narwhal and the waters of Steensby Inlet provide important habitat for walrus, ringed seals and other marine mammals. The land around Mary River is an important calving area and migration range for caribou. Arctic char is an important fish resource throughout the region.

Here is a summary of the key concerns that have been raised by Inuit and the QIA up to this point:
  • The impact of the shipping route in Steensby Inlet on marine wildlife and traveling across the sea ice.
  • The impacts of the rail line and rail traffic on caribou migrations and health.
  • The potential for contamination of water from sewage, fuel spills throughout the area.
  • Inuit need employment. In order to fully benefit from the jobs that will be created by the Project, Inuit will need training, education and other forms of support.
  • Inuit have experienced difficulties working at the sites. There is a need for a local employment coordinator and on-site counseling and support services.
  • Support services will be required in the communities to help Inuit families manage the stress related to the fly in and fly out work schedule.
  • Inuit companies should be provided with every opportunity to take on contracts or to joint venture with other companies to secure contracts.
  • Archeological and other cultural sites must be protected.
  • There must be community-based and enforceable monitoring programs in place for all environmental and socio-economic effects.
  • Inuit must benefit financially from the revenues of the Project.
These statements were supported by 100s of pages of technical comments and submitted to NIRB, which can be accessed on NIRB's website.

Steensby Port-Site

The location of the port site has been a major topic. In addition to comments filed before NIRB, specific to the port-site location QIA has also conducted multiple community visits (both with and without technical experts in the fields of rail design/operation and shipping), site tours with extensive rail route fly-overs, on-site workshop with BIMC senior management and technical experts, a QIA commissioned independent rail line feasibility study, additional sea water depth studies, and a financial evaluation of the impacts of an alternative port-site on project feasibility. The result of this work is that no options have been identified that would work within Project economics. Therefore, Steensby Inlet remains the most viable option for the BIMC.  The Steensby port-site is the option that BIMC will seek approval for before NIRB.