NIRB Requests comments on Baffinland's latest changes to the Mary River Project
The Nunavut Impact Review Board has released a formal letter requesting comments on Baffinland’s latest proposal to implement year-round shipping from the Mary River iron mine.
In letter from Chairperson Elizabeth Copland, the NIRM explains:
On Wednesday, October 29, 2014 Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation submitted to the Nunavut Planning Commission and the Nunavut Impact Review Board a proposed amendment to the approved Mary River Project. Baffinland requested a conformity determination from the NPC for the proposed amendment under the North Baffin Regional Land Use Plan, as well as a request to the NIRB for reconsideration of the terms and conditions of the Mary River Project Certificate.
In 2012, the NIRB reviewed, approved and issued a Project Certificate to allow the development of the larger Mary River project which includes development of a railway from the mine site south to a port at Steensby Inlet, for shipment of up to 21 MT/a of iron ore to markets in Europe year-round, with associated ice-breaking.
In the spring of 2014, the NIRB reviewed and approved amendments to the existing terms and conditions of the Project Certificate to allow for the “Early Revenue Phase” of the Mary River Project to proceed. The Early Revenue Phase involves the development of an open pit iron ore mine at Mary River with transport of crushed ore via truck north to a port site at Milne Inlet, for shipment of up to 4.2 MT/a of ore to markets in Europe during the open water season.
Baffinland is now requesting a new phase of development involving increased production and additional shipment of iron ore through Milne Inlet for approximately 10 months of the year to allow for earlier generation of revenue prior to full development of the larger Mary River Project and associated railway construction.
The NIRB is processing Baffinland’s request for a reconsideration of the Mary River Project Certificate and invites the public to comment regarding whether a reconsideration of the Project Certificate is necessary.
If the NIRB initiates a formal reconsideration, the Board would request that Baffinland update its Final Environmental Impact Statement and provide all relevant information related to the amended activities and associated effects assessments. The Board would then coordinate a public review of the updated Final Environmental Impact Statement, including community meetings, technical sessions and written or oral hearings as the Board considers necessary and in accordance with the NIRB’s Rules of Procedure.
The timelines associated with the reconsideration of the terms and conditions of a NIRB Project Certificate are significantly shorter than for the original review of a Project, however, the Board still requires that sufficient opportunity for public notice and participation be provided.
The NIRB will continue its work to monitor the effects of the Mary River Project and ensure the Project complies with the specific terms and conditions of the existing Project Certificate. The Board invites the public to participate in the monitoring of the Project and the potential reconsideration of the Project Certificate terms and conditions; please call (1-866-233-3033) or email (info [at] nirb [dot] ca) the NIRB office and request to be included on the email distribution list to receive regular updates on engagement opportunities.