Baffinland fends off criticism at technical meeting in Iqaluit

Baffinland fends off criticism at technical meeting in Iqaluit

 In QIA in the News

If critical comments were snowballs, Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. would have ducked often for shelter on Monday.

Volley after volley of criticism came towards Baffinland during the first day of this week’s technical meeting on the company’s expansion plans for its Mary River iron mine on northern Baffin Island.

The agenda for Monday, day one of the three-day meeting in Iqaluit, was largely devoted to the topic of cumulative effects—that is, the mine’s long-term impact on everything from caribou to sea-ice stability near communities, and the impact of a future railroad running all the way to Steensby Inlet.

These cumulative effects, among other topics, were never properly discussed during the first technical meeting called by the Nunavut Impact Review Board in April.

That was because before that meeting Baffinland had not yet filed many reports, including its updated cumulative effects assessment, ice-breaking assessment and simulation modelling report, just to mention a few.

After the NIRB called a second technical meeting to address the gaps, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which represents Inuit in the five north Baffin communities impacted by Mary River, asked for more discussion on the project’s cumulative effects.

The QIA said it wanted to learn more about the future impact of a proposed railway system that could run all the way across Baffin Island from Milne Inlet to Steensby Inlet, as well more discussion on Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit.

The QIA also said it wanted more clear-talking and less “obfuscation.”

Representatives from Inuit groups, governments and non-profit organizations gather June 17 in Iqaluit’s Cadet Hall for the NIRB technical meeting on Baffinland’s proposal to expand its operations at the Mary River mine. (Photo by Jane George)

But on Monday, the QIA criticized the volume of reports finally issued by Baffinland, this time comparing the cumulative effects assessment to a “three-dimensional spider’s web.”

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