Baffinland requests further production increase at Nunavut iron ore mine (Canadian Press/CTV News – April 25, 2023)

POND INLET, NUNAVUT – The owner of an iron ore mine on the tip of Baffin Island says it needs to again increase production to prevent job losses, and several federal cabinet ministers are calling on a Nunavut environmental assessment agency to prioritize the request.

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. wants to increase the amount of ore it’s allowed to truck and ship from its Mary River mine to six-million tonnes, from 4.2 million, for both 2023 and 2024. It says the increase is needed to ensure a stable supply of iron ore to customers and that if it’s not granted, it will have to scale back operations, including reducing employment.

The company is also requesting that, beyond the six-million tonnes, it be allowed to ship ore that was stranded at the Milne port last year, as well as any that could be left behind at the end of this year’s shipping season due to “unexpected circumstances.” It said that last year, large volumes of early sea ice in Milne Inlet resulted in shipping operations having to end several weeks early.

Baffinland has asked the Nunavut Impact Review Board to make a recommendation on the request by August. In a letter sent to the review board last week, Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal, alongside other relevant federal ministers, said Baffinland’s timeline was “reasonable” and the request should be made a priority.

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