Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut June 05, 2014 - 1:54 pm

Inuit org enjoys $7-million surplus thanks to Mary River mine

QIA working on new IIBA for Qausuittuq National Park

PETER VARGA
Qikiqtani Inuit Association president Okalik Eegeesiak at meetings in Iqaluit June 4. Eegeesiak won't have the president's name plate for much longer — in July, she will become the new chair of the pan-Arctic Inuit Circumpolar Council. (PHOTO BY PETER VARGA)
Qikiqtani Inuit Association president Okalik Eegeesiak at meetings in Iqaluit June 4. Eegeesiak won't have the president's name plate for much longer — in July, she will become the new chair of the pan-Arctic Inuit Circumpolar Council. (PHOTO BY PETER VARGA)

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association reported a budget surplus of $7 million for 2014 at its spring board of directors meeting, thanks to a set of agreements related to the Mary River iron mine project.

The QIA earned its surplus for 2013-2014 largely from leases of Inuit-owned land, as well as its Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement with Baffinland Iron Mines Corp., the association’s president, Okalik Eegeesiak, told Nunatsiaq News on day two of its week-long June 3-6 meeting.

The IIBA sets out the working relationship between Nunavut Inuit and Baffinland Iron Mines Corp, which is developing the mine.

Located in northern Baffin Island, the iron mine is expected to produce 3.5 million to 4.2 million tonnes of iron ore annually when it begins its early revenue phase operation in 2015.

The budget surplus marks another step in a major financial reversal from the years 2009 to 2012 when the association posted yearly deficits, said Joe Attagutaluk, secretary-treasurer for the QIA.

The association broke even in 2012-2013.

Eegeesiak said the success of the Mary River project thus far has helped raise the Inuit organization’s profile among the 13 member communities in eastern Nunavut and the High Arctic.

“To me, the biggest accomplishment was that community expectations are raised, and the communities want to be more involved with what QIA is doing,” she said.

The QIA will draft its budget for 2014-15 at an annual general meeting in the fall, Eegeesiak said.

The board’s more immediate priorities at the meeting this week include a review of recommendations to approve an Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement for a new national park known as Qausuittuq National Park, northwest of Resolute Bay on Bathurst Island.

The agreement covers jobs, training, and business opportunities related to the park.

Once approved, the IIBA will go to the federal government for consideration, Eegeesiak said. Plans call for the park to open in April 2015.

Other priorities at the meeting include board appointments, a review of policies, and amendments to elections regulations.

The board will also discuss the appointment of an interim president to take on Eegeesiak’s position, effective in July, when she leaves for a new job as international chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council.

The interim president will serve until the next QIA election in December.

“I’m going with mixed feelings,” Eegeesiak said, although she admitted she was excited about the new opportunity, and “absolutely” happy with what the association has accomplished during her term.

 

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