Mining hearings wrap up in Nunavut, Canada

Inuit filmmaker Zacharius Kunuk has hired a human rights lawyer to study the proposed project. He is also filming the land and people in the area to keep track of any changes caused by the mine if it goes ahead. (CBC)Regulators are expected to make a decision on the mine in September

For the last two weeks, regulators in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut have been hearing all about the proposed iron ore mine at Mary River.

The final hearings into Baffinland’s project wrapped up on the weekend. Now, it’s a waiting game for a decision which could reshape the territory’s economy and environment.

Click here for an interactive map with details about the huge project.

Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk is in the middle of capturing the life and land of Nunavut on film.

“What I want to do is record the wildlife, the land, the beauty of the land,” he said. “That’s the project we’re doing right now – to record it now, elders who are living now, and do it again in 10 years.”

By then, the north Baffin region could look very different.

If the massive mine goes ahead, ore-carrying icebreakers will plow through Foxe Basin. Hundreds of people from the region will leave home to work at the mine site.

Besides documenting the environmental change, Kunuk has hired a human rights lawyer to study the project.

“Right now Baffinland is really nice to us, giving us a free ride to their sites. What about in five years, 10 years?,” he said. “That’s why we have to entrench human rights in all the policies.”

The hearings wrapped up in the community of Pond Inlet Saturday. The Nunavut Impact Review Board’s decision is expected in September.

Related Links:

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

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

Nunavik Inuit concerned about potential Nunavut mine in Canada’s eastern Arctic, CBC News

For more northern stories from CBC News, click here

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