The MLA for Pond Inlet is criticizing the Nunavut government for taking a back seat in negotiations for the Mary River mine expansion.
In the legislature Monday, David Qamaniq urged the territory to be more vocal about the expansion that, if approved, would see production double from six to 12 million tonnes a year at the iron ore mine on north Baffin Island.
“My constituents are wondering why the territorial government seems to be able and willing to impose restrictions on caribou hunting in this region to protect the health of the species, but does not seem able or willing to impose restrictions on the mining company to protect our land, water and wildlife,” Qamaniq said during question period.
Protestors blockaded the mine’s airstrip and trucking road earlier this month over the expansion. The protestors — hunters from nearby communities — say the expansion would infringe on their land and harvesting rights and create environmental damage to marine life.
The mine expansion is currently being considered in environmental review hearings. The government of Nunavut is at the table for the negotiations, but doesn’t have authority to make decisions about the expansion.