Inuit group votes in opposition to supporting Nunavut mine growth

Inuit communities have raised opposition to the proposal to increase an iron ore mine on Baffin Island in northern Canada.

An Inuit organisation within the territory of Nunavut in northern Canada has voted in opposition to backing the deliberate growth of a contentious iron ore mine, after native Inuit communities raised staunch opposition to the proposal.

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) mentioned in a press release on Friday that its board of administrators handed a decision to not help the growth of the Mary River mine on Baffin Island, within the Arctic Archipelago. The QIA is remitted to guard Inuit rights and pursuits within the space.

The firm answerable for the mine, Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation, had proposed doubling its output from six to 12 million tonnes a 12 months, and constructing a 110km railway connecting the location to a port, in addition to a second port dock from which to ship the fabric.

“Inuit did not participate in the development of the proposal, and key information about project impacts remain unclear. Therefore, the QIA Board will not recommend approval,” QIA President PJ Akeeagok mentioned within the group’s assertion.

Inuit hunters had erected a blockade on the Mary River mine final month to protest in opposition to the proposed growth, generally known as section two of improvement.

Baffinland 3 Credit Oceans North Build FilmsInuit hunt narwhal, a whale typically referred to as the ‘unicorn of the sea’ because of its lengthy tusk, in the summertime in open water within the territory of Nunavut in Canada. [Courtesy Build Films/Oceans North]

The hunters, in addition to different residents and leaders in Inuit communities on Baffin Island, had raised considerations the challenge would hurt the wildlife they rely on for his or her survival, together with narwhal, seals, caribou and fish.

They additionally mentioned their voices had not been listened to, whereas conventional Inuit information – generally known as Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit – had not been factored into the corporate’s consideration of potential impacts.

“Inuit are being asked to carry so much risk, with very little benefit, or benefits that come in the form of money, which can’t replace our culture or the wildlife or our harvesting practices,” Eric Ootoovak, chairperson of Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization (MHTO) within the Inuit hamlet of Pond Inlet, informed Al Jazeera final month.

In its assertion, the QIA mentioned its board had examined considerations concerning the impact of mud from the mine, potential penalties on wildlife, the restricted inclusion of Inuit information, and the dearth of a joint improvement “Adaptive Management Plan”.

“QIA’s Board of Directors remains open to resource development in the Qikiqtani Region and welcomes proposals from Baffinland that prioritize Inuit involvement from the beginning and which align with an Inuit vision of the future,” it mentioned.

INTERACTIVE CANADA REMOTE MAPS 03As a part of its section two growth, Baffinland plans to construct a railway linking the Mary River mine to a port at Milne Inlet [Al Jazeera/Mapbox]

In a press release on Saturday, Baffinland mentioned it had taken observe of the QIA’s determination, however was “pleased” the organisation mentioned it welcomed proposals to deal with considerations.

“We have worked with the QIA and others over many years to develop an approach to advancing Mary River that meets strict environmental standards while providing significant control and oversight of mine operation to Inuit,” Baffinland CEO Brian Penney mentioned.

“We will continue our community outreach and seek to meet the QIA and others as soon as practicable to discuss their concerns in order to find a mutually agreeable way forward.”

The growth remains to be earlier than the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB), which held environmental evaluation hearings in January and February.

After extra deliberate classes in April, it’s going to give a advice to the Canadian federal authorities on whether or not to approve it.