Feeding My Family group asks Baffinland for help
“The ships are designed specifically for hauling iron-ore”
The Baffinland Iron Mine Corp. likely would not be open to shipping food to communities, Erik Madsen, the firm’s vice-president for sustainable development, told Leesee Papatsie, creator of the Feeding My Family Facebook group, July 20 at the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s final public hearings on the Mary River iron project.
Papatsie posed questions on behalf of Feeding My Family on the effects of the proposed mine south of Pond Inlet.
She said the group wonders where the ships will come from and what they will carry when they sail to Nunavut.
“Would you guys be prepared to bring stuff up from the South to help the communities fight hunger?” she said.
Papatsie asked Baffinland if it is possible to work out an arrangement to carry food from the South to Iqaluit or some of the other communities, to help reduce the high costs of food and transportation.
But Baffinland will use vessels designed specifically for hauling iron-ore, Madsen said.
They need a deep port, and “they’re not made to haul freight and cargo in that manner,” he said.
But Madsen later said if the mine is developed, Nunavut residents could earn more disposable income, which could translate into more money for buying groceries, he said.
“I certainly agree with you that [the] cost of groceries is very high for the people here in Nunavut,” Madsen said.
Papatsie also asked how the corporation plans on studying the cumulative effects of the Mary River project five or 10 years down the road.
“Because what I’ve heard so far is you guys will have lots of ships coming and going and then you’re going to dig up the land for iron ore and you’re going to create lots and lots of dust,” she said.
In response to Papatsie’s question, future monitoring plans would have to differentiate “between project-related effects and ongoing trends, for example climate change,” Baffinland’s Richard Cook said.
“We are committed to preserving the environment, enriching the communities around us, and caring for the health and well-being of our employees, contractors, and the people around us,” Baffinland’s website states.