The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement was supposed to be a game changer for the Inuit, but a controversial expansion proposal for a mine on Baffin Island exposes the vulnerabilities of the historic pact.
Oakville, Ont.-based Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. plans to double its iron ore production at its Mary River mine, which went into production in 2014.
The company also wants to build a railway that would transport ore from North Baffin to Milne Port, 110 kilometres away. Baffinland says the expansion is crucial to ensuring the mine is profitable over the long run.
But many Inuit stakeholders are opposed to the project. They worry it will inflict further damage on the environment and destroy the livelihoods of subsistence hunters and trappers.
Of particular concern is a thick layer of iron ore dust that has blanketed the landscape for hundreds of kilometres around the mine, which hunters say is caused by blasting at the site.
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