Review board grants Baffinland’s request to extend its production limit – by Emma Tranter (Nunatsiaq News – March 11, 2020)

Mining company can continue producing six million tonnes per year until end of 2021

The Nunavut Impact Review Board has granted Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s request to temporarily extend its production limit at the Mary River mine.

In a March 5 news release, Kaviq Kaluraq, the chair of the NIRB, said the mining company’s request to extend its production limit from four to six million tonnes of iron ore is granted until Dec. 31, 2021. Baffinland had requested only a one-year extension, until the end of 2020, in its letter to the NIRB, dated Dec. 19, 2019.

But in its release, NIRB said a one-year extension “would have the effect of imposing undue limits on the timelines and manner in which the board’s assessment of the phase two development proposal proceeds.”

“In extending the amendments to terms and conditions 179(a) and 179(b) until December 31, 2021, the board is confident that there will be adequate time to complete a thorough assessment and decision-making for the phase two development proposal and that Baffinland and subsequent regulators will have sufficient time to address the board’s and ministers’ associated decisions and recommendations,” the release said.

This follows a production cap increase granted in 2018, up from the 4.2-million-tonne cap set in the project certificate amendment that allowed trucked shipping to Milne Inlet under the company’s “early revenue phase.” That two-year production cap expired on Dec. 31, 2019.

In its phase two proposal, Baffinland proposes increasing Mary River’s production from six million to 12 million tonnes of ore per year. The expanded mine would be served by a 110-kilometre railway from Mary River to Milne Inlet and up to 176 ship voyages each season.

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