Greenland officials say Nunavut mine owner hasn’t fully addressed cross-border impacts – by Kevin McGwin (Nunatsiaq News/Arctic Today – May 27, 2021)


An assessment of the potential impact of increased shipping activity in Baffin Bay stemming from a proposed expansion of the Mary River iron mine in Nunavut has been criticized by Naalakkersuisut, Greenland’s self-rule government, for not fully assessing its concerns.

Because the expanded mining activity would impact other countries, Baffinland, the mine’s operator, is required by international law to compile an assessment of the damage it could cause and grant authorities from the affected countries permission to comment on it.

The Baffinland assessment, together with a series of written exchanges between Greenland authorities and the company’s representatives about its contents was released for public consultation in Greenland on May 18. However, Naalakkersuisut underscored that because Baffinland had declined to take Greenland’s concerns fully into account, the assessment could not be considered to be complete.

“Greenland does not find this satisfactory and will address our concerns regarding the potential transboundary effects from the project in connection with the public consultation process in Greenland,” Tilde Roland Høberg, a biologist working with the environment ministry, wrote in a letter to Megan Lord-Hoyle, a Baffinland vice-president, after being informed the company would not revise the assessment to include further detail about issues such as shipping routes and the potential impact on marine mammals of increased ship traffic in Baffin Bay.

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