Inuit orgs join chorus opposing Nunavut mining exemption (Nunatsiaq News – June 9, 2015)

QIA and NTI pen joint letter to federal minister supporting land use plan process

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. has proposed to bypass some serious red tape in Nunavut’s regulatory process — but two Inuit organizations are trying to stop the mining company in its tracks.

Baffinland wants to ship 12 million metric tons of iron ore to Europe for 10 months of the year as part of its Phase 2 project proposal — something the Nunavut Planning Commission, said no to last April.

Baffinland has requested an exemption to the NPC’s regulatory process that could be granted by Bernard Valcourt, the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development minister.

The company wants to go straight to the Nunavut Impact Review Board for environmental impact assessment hearings instead. Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna supported that bid in a letter to Valcourt last week.

Hold it right there, say Inuit organizations. Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association are urging Valcourt to send the whole thing back to the NPC.

Instead, they say Baffinland should continue in their efforts to get a land use amendment from the planning commission that might allow the company to break winter ice and ship ore through the winter months.

“We request that you decline BIMC’s request for an exemption, and direct your officials to work with NPC to enable it to process an amendment application on a timely and priority basis,” the joint letter to Valcourt states.

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