The federal government has blocked Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s plans for a massive production increase in Nunavut, sending a strong message to the mining industry that any future large resource development in the Far North must be offset by sufficient environmental damage mitigation and proper consultation with the Inuit.
Baffinland, based in Oakville, Ont., had hoped to double its production of iron ore at its Baffin Island mine in Nunavut to 12 million tonnes a year, from six million tonnes.
The privately held company, which is owned by U.S. private equity group the Energy & Minerals Group and Luxembourg-based steel producer ArcelorMittal, said that getting the go-ahead on the expansion was key to it becoming economically viable over the long term.
In his decision to reject the production increase, federal Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal said the expansion could cause “significant adverse eco-systemic effects” to marine mammals, fish, caribou, terrestrial wildlife, vegetation and freshwater.
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