The federal government approved Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s request for a bigger extraction limit at its mine on Baffin Island, avoiding the firing of more than 1,000 workers who had been told they would lose their jobs this month unless their employer was given permission to ramp up production.
Baffinland, owned by private equity firm Energy and Minerals Group and steel giant ArcelorMittal SA, sent the termination notices at the end of July, putting pressure on regulators to make a decision on its request to increase its extraction limit of iron ore to six million tonnes from the original allowance of 4.2 million tonnes.
Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal approved the request on Oct. 4, following a green light from the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) and consultation with Inuit leaders, said Kyle Allen, the minister’s spokesman.
The decision resolved months of regulatory uncertainty that started when the Nunavut Impact Review Board rejected Baffinland’s original request for a 12-million-tonne limit in May, citing environmental concerns. The company’s Mary River Mine site is one of the most northern mines in the world.