Baffinland says yes to construction of huge Nunavut iron mine
Company gives green light to building mine at Mary River
Following Inuit impact-benefit and commercial production lease agreements with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. has decided to go ahead with construction of an iron mine at Mary River on north Baffin Island, the company announced Sept. 13.
“Announcing a construction decision is a significant milestone in the evolution of the Mary River project. Many years of environmental reviews and negotiations have led us to be able to reach this decision,” Tom Paddon, Baffinland’s president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.
Earlier this year, Baffinland started shipping large amounts of construction material, fuel and equipment to its sealift landing site at Milne Inlet, sparking a boom in activity at the St. Lawrence Seaway port of Valleyfield.
The company said they will work on completing their sealift deliveries this year and work on construction of mining camp and fuel storage facilities through late 2013 and into 2014.
“Our work at Mary River and Milne Inlet will focus on construction activities that are currently approved through the environmental assessment process,” Paddon said.
“As further approvals are obtained in the coming months our construction activities will encompass development required to achieve our Early Revenue Phase and allow for the eventual shipment of ore,” Paddon said.
The “early revenue phase” is the name used to describe an amended mine development plan that Baffinland announced in January 2013, shortly after receiving a project certificate for the project.
That plan provides for the shipment of about 3.5 million tonnes of ore annually through a port at Milne Inlet.
But the amended plan now also provides for later construction of a railway to a port at Steensby Inlet by early 2019 and the shipment of up to 20 million tonnes of ore a year from the site by 2020.
The Nunavut Impact Review Board and the Nunavut Planning Commission are looking at the amended plan, and are to hold public meetings about it early next month in affected communities.
The company said it will also move ahead with “extensive training and recruitment initiatives” to help Inuit from north Baffin communities get jobs with the project.
And Baffinland said the recent IIBA and commercial production lease with QIA were “key ingredients” that helped the company reach a production decisions.