Nunavut Planning Commission gets started on Mary River expansion – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – September 6, 2017)

After nearly three years, Baffinland’s Phase 2 scheme starts moving through the Nunavut regulatory system

Nearly three years after Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. first proposed its Phase 2 expansion plan for the Mary River iron mine, an updated version of the project will finally start moving through Nunavut’s regulatory system.

And more than two years after Bernard Valcourt, then the Conservative minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, exempted the first version of the scheme from the scrutiny of the Nunavut Planning Commission, the NPC will get to look at it after all.

The planning commission, in a public notice issued Aug. 31, now seeks comment from governments, organizations and individuals on an application from Baffinland to change the North Baffin Regional Land Use Plan to allow for a 110-kilometre railway between Mary River and Milne Inlet, and for winter sealifts during the months of December, January and February.

(The North Baffin plan is still in legal effect because the planning commission’s Nunavut-wide draft land use plan has yet to be approved.) Interested parties and persons must submit comments before a deadline of 12 noon eastern time, Oct. 2. To respond to comments, Baffinland has a deadline of 9 a.m. eastern time, Oct. 5.

And in those comments, the planning commission wants to know who is concerned about the plan, who supports it and who wants an “in-person public hearing.” (See document embedded below.)

In this latest version of the company’s Phase 2 expansion plan, described in an update in November 2016, Baffinland has backed away from the idea of shipping ore to market through the ice-covered waters of Milne Inlet and Eclipse Sound for 10 months of the year.

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