The Nunavut Influence Overview board has really helpful Baffinland’s Part 2 growth not be allowed to proceed.
In a letter to Dan Vandal, the federal northern affairs minister, Nunavut Influence Overview Board chair Kaviq Kaluraq mentioned the mine has the potential for “important antagonistic ecosystemic results” on marine mammals, fish, caribou and different wildlife, which in flip might hurt Inuit tradition, land use and meals safety.
Kaluraq’s letter additionally pointed to the potential for “transboundary results on marine mammals and fish and the marine atmosphere exterior of the Nunavut Settlement Space.”
Lastly, she famous these results “can’t be adequately prevented, mitigated or adaptively managed,” even with the proporsed revisions to the mission certificated the board has already issued to Baffinland.
The long-awaited suggestion was launched on Friday, after a four-year evaluate course of that pitted financial growth in opposition to environmental protections and the sustainability of conventional searching. The complete report is 441 pages.
Baffinland, the Qikiqtani Inuit Affiliation and the federal government of Nunavut all declined interviews till they’ll evaluate the report.
In a information launch, Baffinland CEO Brian Penney mentioned the corporate was disillusioned with the choice.
“Our Part 2 proposal is predicated on years of in-depth research and detailed scientific evaluation, and has appreciable native assist based mostly on years of session with Inuit and native communities,” Penney mentioned.
“We shall be asking the federal authorities to contemplate the entire proof and enter and to approve the Part 2 utility with honest and cheap situations.”
The choice in the end rests with Vandal, who has beforehand mentioned he’ll make a decision inside 90 days of NIRB’s suggestion.
In 2016, when the identical board really helpful a gold mine in Nunavut’s Kitikmeot area not be allowed to go forward, then-federal minister Carolyn Bennett, asking NIRB to .
That mine was.
The Mary River mine has been working on north Baffin Island since 2015 and is presently allowed to extract and ship as much as six million tonnes of ore per 12 months.
Baffinland had requested to double its delivery of iron ore from its Milne Inlet port to 12 million tonnes a 12 months, and construct a 110-kilometre railway to the port.
WATCH | Inuit on Baffin Island might resolve destiny of far north iron ore mine:
Baffinland additionally made a myriad of guarantees to close by communities in reference to the growth continuing, together with jobs, cash, environmental monitoring packages, boats, daycares, coaching centres and extra.
The corporate additionally dedicated to progressively rising delivery over 4 years from when Part 2 is accredited, and banning using heavy gasoline oil seven years earlier than it is to be outlawed in Canada’s Arctic.
Lots of the commitments are tied to a $1 billion Inuit Certainty Settlementwith the Qikiqtani Inuit Affiliation in 2020, contingent on the growth continuing.
Nonetheless, QIA selected to not assist the growth, citing a scarcity of belief amongst communities, and uncertainty about whether or not new proposed mitigation measures will really work with a bigger mining operation.
Too many uncertainties remained
In a information launch, NIRB additional defined a few of the concerns on why it selected to reject the proposal, in its longest and most-extensive evaluate ever.
Particularly, the board mentioned “regardless of the perfect effort of all of the events, the board was not assured that the measures proposed would restrict or stop these destructive results.”
Along with monetary commitments, Baffinland had promised many mitigation measures to handle the issues heard all through the general public hearings, nearly all of which had been environmental-related.
I shall be taking time to evaluate the report together with federal officers. A call shall be taken following acceptable due diligence and complete evaluation, together with whether or not the obligation to seek the advice of has been met or not.
“The board has concluded that the proposal as assessed can’t be carried out in a way that may shield the ecosystemic integrity of Nunavut and that may shield and promote the prevailing and future well-being of the residents and communities of Nunavut, and Canada extra usually,” NIRB’s information launch learn.
The board additionally listed six areas of uncertainty which had been raised throughout the public hearings, together with whether or not Baffinland was precisely conveying the consequences of the present operation versus what communities had been really experiencing.
NIRB cited testimony from Inuit and community-based organizations which felt Baffinland and regulatory companies “had not meaningfully thought-about and utilized Inuit data and expertise to handle this uncertainty.”
The board additionally heard how there have been gaps between what Inuit had been experiencing when it comes to the consequences of the mine, and the way Baffinland was responding to these issues, if in any respect.
Particularly the board pointed to the difficulty of mud unfold across the mine and the Milne Inlet port, and the modifications in narwhal and seal populations alongside delivery routes for the reason that mine opened.
“Inuit data shared with the board from data holders in Pond Inlet, indicated that these results are altering their skill/willingness to camp, fish, hunt and berry decide within the areas impacted by pink mud and are additionally altering the timing, location and ranges of effort required to reap narwhals and seals,” the information launch learn.
“Communities indicated that such modifications are threatening meals safety and creating cultural losses for which communities can’t be compensated. Citing the issues of communities with regard to those potential destructive results, Inuit organizations and nearly all of the community-based Intervenors didn’t assist the proposal.”
In its information launch, the board additionally acknowledged the lack of financial advantages Part 2 would have promised, together with $2.4 billion in royalties, in addition to the potential for the mine’s future to be in jeopardy with out the growth.
“Many residents within the affected communities additionally expressed the view that the potential optimistic socio-economic advantages of the proposal concentrate on monetary advantages, whereas the destructive socio-economic results concentrate on results on land use, harvesting, tradition and meals safety that can’t be compensated with cash,” NIRB mentioned.
“Attributable to a number of elements, together with training, coaching, labour market and demographics, a few of that are past the management of the proponent, there stays uncertainty relating to whether or not the total scale of the proposed advantages might be delivered, and questions stay as to the extent of Inuit contracting and Inuit employment that could be delivered by the Part 2.”