Mary River

Next Steps and Timelines

QIA’s next steps will be to review the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) to determine if QIA’s concerns on the DEIS have been adequately addressed.  This will occur over the coming months beginning on February 29, 2012.  Following the technical review period, it is expected that NIRB will hold the Final Hearings in Iqaluit, Igloolik and Pond Inlet in July 2012.

Following Final Hearings NIRB will issue a report to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). It is the Minister of AANDC who will issue the final decision as to whether or not to approve the project as proposed by Baffinland.   

QIA, working directly with the Mary River Project Committees will undertake a review of the FEIS. The primary focus of QIA’s work will be to determine how the Company has taken into account and addressed the detailed comments that were presented during the Technical Review of the DEIS.

During this same time period QIA will work to complete an Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement and a Commercial Production Lease, including presentation of these documents by the QIA Executive to potentially impacted communities. 

This is the current schedule of QIA activities:

February 29, 2012 Technical Review of the FEIS begins
March 30, 2012 QIA to submit any requests for additional information
April 30, 2012 Technical Meeting in Iqaluit to discuss information requests
May 30, 2012 QIA to provide final written submission to NIRB
June 22, 2012 QIA to submit comments to NWB on the Water License
July 2012 Final NIRB Hearing in Iqaluit, Pond Inlet and Igloolik
Nunavut Water Board (NWB)

The Company requires a water licence from the NWB to construct, operate and decommission and finally close the Mary River Project.  A water licence regulates all interactions with fresh water, including the management of waste and fuel storage.

Since the project will require a lot of infrastructure, a number of highly detailed plans and designs will need to put in place prior to operation of the Project. Building the railway line, for example, will require over numerous bridges and hundreds of culverts. There are also requirements for water quality monitoring, fuel storage methods and waste water management at Milne Inlet, Mary River and Steensby Inlet.  The water licence also requires detailed plans related to how any areas disturbed would have to be cleaned-up once mining is complete.

The NWB has asked QIA (and other interested groups) to start a detailed review of the water license application. QIA’s efforts in reviewing the water licence application are anticipated to continue throughout 2012. It is further anticipated that the NWB will hold hearings in communities before issuing a final water licence. It is the Minister of AANDC who will issue the final decision as to whether or not to approve a final water licence.

Access to Inuit Owned Lands

Currently QIA and BIMC have a lease which allows for on-going exploration and site investigation studies. The current lease is due to expire in December 2012.

For the Mary River Project to operate as a mine QIA and BIMC must come to an agreement on a Commercial Production Lease. This lease is expected to include the following main components: term, rent, boundaries, water use fees, quarry concession agreement, environmental operation conditions, authorities for QIA inspectors and auditors, required plans and reporting, amount and type of financial security.

Discussions between QIA and BIMC with respect to a Commercial Production Lease are currently on-going.  

Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement Negotiations (IIBA)

QIA is responsible for negotiating an Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement. This responsibility comes from Article 26 of the NLCA. Article 26 requires that before a large development project can proceed on Inuit Owned Lands, an Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement must be reached.

The Board of Directors of QIA appointed a negotiating team made up of community representatives from Pond Inlet and Igloolik and QIA senior managers. The team is assisted by technical consultants as required.

In 2009 QIA and BIMC signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to economic provisions that could later become a part of a final IIBA. The purpose was to provide Inuit with employment and contract benefits during early stages of project development. 

Activity around the IIBA stopped during the transition to the new owners of Baffinland. Negotiations resumed in 2011. It is expected that once an Agreement-in-Principle on the IIBA is reached the QIA Executive will present the IIBA to the communities prior to formal ratification.

The agreement is being organized into four main areas:
  • Financials: This section defines the payments to be provided to QIA throughout the duration of the life of the Project.

  • Economic Matters: This will include employment, training, education, contracting and associated topics such as work place conditions and a community wellness fund.

  • Community Engagement: This section will set out how Inuit will be involved in the management and monitoring of the environmental and socio-economic effects of the Project, Inuit travel, and other support for individual Inuit and the communities.

  • Wildlife and Cultural Heritage: This section will address archaeology other cultural matters, carving stone and wildlife compensation.