Hearings on Arctic mining project continue in Canada’s Far North

The Nunavut Impact Review Board is in Igloolik this week for final hearings on Baffinland’s Mary River iron ore project. Community roundtable discussions begin this morning. (Vincent Desrosiers/CBC )

Low turnout at Monday’s session

The Nunavut Impact Review Board will hear from more people in the eastern Arctic community of Igloolik today concerning Baffinland’s iron ore project.

Few people turned up Monday for the public hearings where the company explained its plan and answered some questions from regulators.

“It may well have something to do with the recent ice break-up,” said Igloolik mayor Nicholas Arnatsiaq of the low turn-out. “The ice just went away a few days ago, and chances are the hunters are quite anxious to get out boating.”

Baffinland has been in Igloolik for meetings many times but this is the final hearing there for the Mary River project, a last chance for people to put their concerns, and support, on the record.

Arnatsiaq says unless the mine opens, there aren’t many jobs for young people entering the workforce.

“It’s a growing community,” he said. “We now have about 2,400 people, and there is virtually no economic base in this community.”

Arnatsiaq is fully behind the Baffinland project, in fact, he’s been the company’s community liaison officer, and was for several years before becoming mayor.

Others in Igloolik are more skeptical — some worry about the environment, others like Peter Ivalu wonder if the economic benefits for Igloolik have been overstated.

“This company has endeavoured to give contracts to, or have a preference for, Inuit business… and those Inuit businesses seem to be based in Iqaluit.”

The hearings will continue in Igloolik through tomorrow, before moving on to Pond Inlet on Thursday.

Related Links:

Hearings focus on proposed mine’s social impact in eastern Canadian Arctic, CBC News

Final hearings on mining project start in Canada’s eastern Arctic, CBC News

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