Candidates mull devolution, mining and tourism potential in Pond Inlet – by Walter Strong (CBC News North – October 25, 2017)

Pond Inlet, Nunavut, a community of about 1,600 people on North Baffin Island, is surrounded by stunning mountainous terrain and the newly created Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound) marine conservation area — the largest of its kind in Canada.

It’s also the closest community for the nearby Mary River iron ore mine owned and operated by Baffinland Iron Mines. The mine, approximately 180 kilometres southwest of Pond Inlet by air, has been in production since 2015 and maintains an 800-person camp.

The mine will impact the economic and social life of Pond Inlet for decades to come, but what that legacy will eventually amount to is not clear: the mine has struggled to fulfill its Inuit hiring commitments, and risks to the traditional hunting and trapping way of life in the region have been well-noted by community members and activist groups.

Perhaps not surprisingly, issues surrounding the environmental, economic and social impact of the mine have come to the fore in discussions with the three candidates vying to represent the region, Tununiq, in the next territorial government.

Joe Enook, 60, is the incumbent MLA. He took the seat in a 2011 byelection. He says the natural beauty of the area and nearby mining operations have meant increased marine traffic in the waters separating Pond Inlet from mountain-encrusted Bylot Island (home to Sirmilik National Park) to the North.

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