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QIA’s Immediate Response to Baffinland’s Decision to Issue Lay-Off Notices to Employees

QIA’s Immediate Response to Baffinland’s Decision to Issue Lay-Off Notices to Employees

 In Uncategorized

Iqaluit, Nunavut, May 27th, 2022 – The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) has been informed of Baffinland Iron Ore Mines (Baffinland) intention to issue layoff notices to project employees in the event the Minister of Northern Affairs does not immediately grant approval to proceed with mining at 6 million tons per annum (mtpa) in 2022.

QIA has consistently stated support for mining provided projects align with Inuit rights, values, and interests.  Under the existing Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement and the Inuit Certainty Agreement, Baffinland has obligations to engage Inuit prior to presenting a formal proposal to the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB). These rights are important as, among other things, they allow for the consideration of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit prior to presenting a formal proposal to NIRB. Unfortunately, this important work has not been undertaken.

In the Phase 2 Board Report, NIRB identified many deficiencies with the current project at 4.2mtpa which must be addressed before any further increase should be considered.

  • In 2018, QIA worked with Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet) to review and provide support, subject to conditions, for temporarily increasing the amount of iron ore production from 4.2mtpa to 6mtpa.
  • In 2020, QIA and impacted communities provided support to continue production at 6mtpa for 2020 and 2021, to allow the company to operate until a Phase 2 decision was made.
  • In July 2021, Baffinland informed QIA they did not intend to apply for any further extension to the 6mtpa increase
  • On December 31st, 2021 Baffinland’s permit to produce and ship 6mtpa expired

QIA has been forthright in recommending Baffinland prepare a formal application to the NIRB to extend production at 6mtpa.

QIA believes in the negotiated structures of the Nunavut Agreement and NuPPAA in reviewing applications such as this to ensure a fair process and Inuit voices can be heard.  QIA is disappointed that employees working at Mary River Project will be issued lay-off notices because Baffinland was not better prepared to develop and present formal applications to NIRB to extend production at 6mtpa.

“QIA remains committed to working to implement Inuit rights related to the Mary River Project. As I have said many times, Inuit and QIA are not opposed to mining on our lands. We look forward to working with impacted communities, Baffinland, the territorial and federal governments to make sure the current project and any future expansion projects align with an Inuit vision of sustainable development”, said Olayuk Akesuk, President of QIA.

QIA has initiated its response planning and will communicate further with Inuit and impacted communities once additional information is confirmed with Baffinland consistent with the existing IIBA.

QIA is the Designated Inuit Organization for this project. This means that QIA will do everything in its power to ensure that the current Mary River Project and any proposed applications are acceptable to Inuit and respects the need for Inuit oversight and decision-making on issues where Inuit are greatly affected.

For more information, please contact:

Karen Flaherty
Director, Strategic Communications
Qikiqtani Inuit Association
(P) 867.975.8398

(tf) 1.800.667.2742

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