“That very foundation is missing”
Nunavut’s Mary River iron mine could be a strong example of sustainable development in the Arctic, says World Wildlife Foundation-Canada, but it’s lacking the public oversight it needs to achieve that.
The Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. mine, which shipped its first load of iron ore to Europe in 2015, released its 2015 annual report this past spring, offering a 111-page breakdown of the mine’s performance and monitoring programs in 2015 and plans for 2016.
But years after the project’s approval, Baffinland has no formal guidelines to inform the level of data the company collects on its project, and how its analyses are reported, said WWF-Canada, which sits as an observing member on the mine’s Marine Environment Working Group.
“The NIRB has put in an adaptive management approach, and that’s understandable because a lot of what this project is doing are firsts,” said Paul Crowley, director of WWF-Canada’s Arctic program.
“But the very foundation of adaptive management would be a monitoring program that is mandated; that has very clear guidelines and very clear reporting guidelines that then move into the public process.”
“That way, the Nunavut Impact Review Board, and anyone who is interested, can follow how the project is impacting the environment and how, if anything should be done to adapt what is going on,” Crowley said. “And that very foundation is missing.”
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