Looking up, up north: The territories reap tangible and intangible benefits from their biggest industry – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – October 5, 2018)

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Nunavut’s environmental review said no to a mining proposal but Ottawa said yes. What happened? Hoping to finally make a profit at its four-year-old Mary River operation, Baffinland Iron Mines asked permission to boost production from 4.2 million tonnes annually to six million tonnes.

Worried about possible environmental effects, the Nunavut Impact Review Board recommended in late August that the federal government reject the proposal. But it was the NIRB recommendation that got rejected. Five cabinet ministers approved the mine’s request, for the time being anyway.

Swaying the decision was the support of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, whose members “strongly support the Production Increase Proposal as a method of furthering Inuit aspirations in the region,” Ottawa stated. Support also came from Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq, who urged a swift decision in favour.

It wasn’t long coming. Just one month after the NIRB forwarded its recommendation, Ottawa announced its approval, expressing concern about the socio-economic effects of shutting down the mine for part of the year once the 4.2-million-tonne limit is reached and about the mine’s long-term viability.

Increased production will “allow the Inuit of the region the opportunity to maintain and more fully realize the economic and other benefits of the mine.” That’s not to dismiss environmental concerns. Monitoring will take place until the end of next year, when permission comes up for review.

For the rest of this article: http://resourceclips.com/2018/10/05/looking-up-up-north/

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