Arctic Canadian mayor worried about mine’s shipping route

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‘When they were going to go through Steensby, they did all kinds of environmental testing on walrus, baseline data, and all that kind of stuff… but they haven't done that in Milne Inlet,’ says Clyde River mayor, Jerry Natanine. (Courtesy Baffinland )
‘When they were going to go through Steensby, they did all kinds of environmental testing on walrus, baseline data, and all that kind of stuff… but they haven’t done that in Milne Inlet,’ says Clyde River mayor, Jerry Natanine. (Courtesy Baffinland )
Hearings are scheduled to begin in the Arctic Canadian community of Clyde River today into Baffinland’s Mary River mine project.

The Nunavut Planning Commission is looking into Baffinland’s proposal to ship iron ore through Milne Inlet, on the east coast of Baffin Island in Canada’s eastern Arctic.

That plan is meant to be a short-term way to generate revenue until a larger port is built at Steensby Inlet in the Foxe Basin.

Jerry Natanine plans to speak at the hearings. He was elected mayor of Clyde River in December.

Natanine says people in the hamlet are in favour of the mine project. Nearly a dozen people from Clyde River are already working at the Mary River site.

But there are concerns about the risk of an accident or spill in adjacent waters.

“When they were going to go through Steensby, they did all kinds of environmental testing on walrus, baseline data, and all that kind of stuff in Steensby,” Natanine says. “But they haven’t done that in Milne Inlet.”

Natanine says he wants to hear more from Baffinland tonight about what would happen if iron ore sank into the sea off the Baffin coast, and how the company will protect the environment.

People are also worried about the prospect of dust from the mine blowing into the community, he says.

Natanine says he doesn’t expect a huge turnout. He says Baffinland has been doing “good public meetings and information sessions,” so people already know what some of the company’s answers are.

Hearings begin tonight at 7:30 ET at the Clyde River community hall.

Tomorrow, the hearings move to Grise Fiord and Resolute, then on to Arctic Bay on Thursday and Pond Inlet on Friday.

Related Links:

Canada: Q&A: Preparing for a mining economy in western Nunavut, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland’s environment minister backs more mining in Lapland, Yle News

Greenland: Analysis: Implications of Greenland’s decision to allow uranium mining, Blog by Mia Bennett

Sweden:  Sami ask for mining veto, Eye on the Arctic

United States:Waste pollutants: Discharge permits or pipeline for Alaska, Alaska Dispatch

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