Mary River mine needs a railway to survive, new economic report says – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – February 8, 2021)


Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s Mary River mine is unlikely to survive without a railway to carry greater quantities of ore to Milne Inlet, says a report commissioned by the company.

The report, titled Mary River Project Economics Explained, was submitted to the Nunavut Impact Review Board this month during its public hearing on Baffinland’s expansion proposal for the Mary River mine, which adjourned Feb. 6 and is to resume in March.

The company filed the economic report in response to an earlier economic analysis done for the Oceans North conservation group by a firm called OpenOil, which said Baffinland’s existing truck route is capable of making a profit for the company.

Baffinland’s analysis, done by Graeme Clinton of Impact Economics in Yellowknife, found that the Mary River project lost money — expressed by the term “negative free cash flow” — for every year it operated from 2016 to 2019.

The biggest loss – about $161 million – was recorded in 2017. Those losses occurred because, starting in 2012, global iron ore prices began to fall, the report said.

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