Nunavut board issues project certificate for Mary River
NIRB now moves into monitoring role
As expected, the Nunavut Impact Review Board has issued a project certificate to the Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. for its massive Mary River iron project.
Elizabeth Copland, the review board’s chairperson, sent the certificate to Baffinland in an email sent at 4:12 p.m. mountain time Dec. 28.
“The NIRB looks forward to working with Baffinland and all parties to ensure that the enclosed Project Certificate is fully implemented and achieves the identified objectives,” Copland said in a covering letter.
The certificate, which lists 182 terms and conditions that Baffinland must following during construction and operation of an open pit mine, railway, port and marine transport system, follows a two-day workshop that NIRB held in Iqaluit Dec. 18 and Dec. 19.
Copland said in her letter that the NIRB’s role now is to monitor the project to ensure compliance with those terms and conditions. (See document embedded below.)
To that end, the board will appoint monitoring officers to do that work, she said.
“The NIRB’s Monitoring Officers will serve as the lead contact for the NIRB on any project-specific coordination with other agencies as may be required,” Copland’s letter said.
NIRB technical staff will work with the Nunavut Water Board on the process that will lead to the issuance of a water licence for the project.
At the same time, the Nunavut Planning Commission may now go ahead with an amendment to the North Baffin Regional Land Use plan that would allow the construction of a railway from the mine site to a port site at Steensby Inlet, Copland said.
Baffinland, owned 50 per cent by the global steel giant Arcelor Mittal and 50 per cent by private investment firm Iron Ore Holdings LP, proposed a 21-year project in its application to regulators.
Baffinland wants to extract about 18 million tonnes of iron ore each year and ship it from a port at Steensby Inlet connected to the mine site by a railway.
From the Steensby port, huge, 320-metre icebreaking ore vessels would move 12 months of the year through Foxe Basin and Hudson Strait to steelmakers in Europe.
Baffinland hopes to begin construction some time in 2013.