Baffinland seeks permission to ship 6M tonnes of iron through Milne Inlet until 2032

A review is underway of Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s application to ship six million tonnes of iron ore each year out of Mary River Mine through Milne Inlet over the next several years.

Since 2018, the company has been shipping that amount each year through a sensitive marine conservation area near Pond Inlet using temporary permits. The current temporary permit expires at the end of this year.

Baffinland’s standard shipping permit for Milne Inlet is 4.2 million tonnes of ore annually.

A 13-page letter posted to the Nunavut Impact Review Board public registry, dated June 5, summarizes Baffinland’s proposal.

The company is asking to be allowed to ship six million tonnes per year through 2032 while it works toward building a 149-kilometre railway south to Steensby Port – a project which was given federal approval in 2012.

If approved, the company would phase out use of the tote road to Milne Inlet by Dec. 31, 2030, and ship stockpiled ore for the final two years.

Some organizations have submitted comments to NIRB’s publicly accessible online project dashboard, including Inuit organizations and local hunters and trappers organizations.

Peter Akman, Baffinland’s head of communications, said the company’s recent correspondence with NIRB about extending the six million tonne permit is what the company was “expecting and hoping for.”

“[It] is in line with what they have done for all of our other [six million tonnes] reconsiderations since 2018,” he said in an email.

“Our hope is to have it complete before the start of next year’s shipping season.”

Akman said there are no other changes to its proposal to continue its current shipping amounts over the next several years. Once the company pivots to the Steensby rail route, it will phase out its use of the port at Milne Inlet.

Kyle Allen, a spokesperson for federal Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal, said his office has received the proposal and that Vandal is reviewing it before deciding whether to give approval.

Jeff Pelletier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News