Baffinland railway may be “dead,” Pond Inlet group declares – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – January 8, 2018)

Committee alleges QIA is in a conflict of interest

The controversial 110-kilometre railway that Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. wants to build between the Mary River iron mine and its port at Milne Inlet “may be dead in its tracks,” says a Pond Inlet hamlet committee.

In a statement released near the end of December, when Nunatsiaq News had shut down for the holiday period, the committee, which represents the Hamlet of Pond Inlet and the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization, said they have “mounted a challenge” to Baffinland’s railway proposal.

“The Pond Inlet Hamlet Council, together with hunters and trappers organizations from several communities, have written letters, passed resolutions and submitted technical documents opposing the proposed railway,” the Pond Inlet statement said.

If it were ever constructed, the Milne Inlet railway would become the first railway north of the treeline in Arctic Canada. It’s part of Baffinland’s ever-changing phase two expansion proposal, the first version of which dates to October 2014.

In the latest proposal, Baffinland wants government regulators to change the rules governing its operations at Mary River to allow the production and shipment of up to 12 million tonnes of ore each year through Milne Inlet, a big increase from the 4.2 million tonnes a year they’re allowed to ship through that route now.

At first, Baffinland proposed to transport that ore to Milne Inlet by increasing the number of haul trucks they use from 22 to 75.

But in February 2016, Baffinland said they now want to ship their ore by rail, in a project that would involve five diesel-electric locomotives and 176 rail cars, with five or six trains running each day at speeds of between 60 and 75 kilometres an hour, plus bridges, sidings and a railway embankment.

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