Inuit org completes first round of Mary River consultations – by steve Ducharme (Nunatsiaq News – November 23, 2015)

Residents of communities affected by the proposed Phase II expansion of Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.‘s Mary River iron mine project got their first chance to say what they think about the proposal in a series of forums hosted by the Qikiqtani Inuit Association that concluded Nov. 16.

The QIA will use material from this community tour — the first of three — to help form its position at the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s upcoming environmental review of Baffinland’s proposed Phase II expansion.

“There was a really good turnout, right from elders down to youth that came to our open house and public meetings… there’s a lot of interest on the topic,” QIA President P.J. Akeeagok said.

Between Nov. 9 and Nov. 16, Akeeagok hosted a series of radio shows in the five affected communities — Pond Inlet, Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Hall Beach and Igloolik — to discuss the impact of expanded operations atthe Mary River iron ore mine.

Cathy Towtongie, the president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. also took part in those broadcasts.

The QIA also made presentations and conducted an open house in each community.

“It’s going to be very rich in terms of a position, because it’s coming directly from the people that will be impacted,” said Akeeagok on the material collected so far.

“There were powerful statements made in terms of their culture that might change, that will change actually, and there’s some that said, well, its 2015 and we all have to work at the end of the day … it was a surreal opportunity for me and everyone else.”

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