QIA & Baffinland strike deal for Nunavut iron project

QIA & Baffinland strike deal for Nunavut iron project

"This is a historic deal for Inuit of the Qikiqtaaluk region and for all of Nunavut"


The Qikiqtani Inuit Association and Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. announced Sept. 6 they had reached agreement on an Inuit impact and benefit agreement and commercial production lease for Baffinland’s proposed Mary River iron mine project on northern Baffin Island.

The official signing of the two agreements, which followed a special QIA board meeting in Iqaluit this past week, took place Sept. 6 at 3:30 p.m. inside the Discovery Lodge hotel in Iqaluit.

The QIA’s board of directors, who serve as community representatives, ratified the agreement Sept. 5, the QIA said in a news release.

“These agreements turn the page in QIA’s partnership with Baffinland and put Inuit interests at the forefront of the mine’s impacts and benefits. The agreements also provide clarity to Baffinland on Inuit expectations surrounding its investment in Nunavut,” the QIA said in a news release.

“This is a historic deal for Inuit of the Qikiqtaaluk region and for all of Nunavut and has the potential to positively change the economic and social fabric of the territory. We are satisfied with the terms and conditions of the agreement which maximizes benefits while minimizing impacts,” said the QIA’s president Okalik Eegeesiak in the release.

Tom Paddon, Baffinland’s president and chief executive officer, said the company is “very pleased to have concluded the negotiation of these important agreements with the QIA.”

“We believe that this accomplishment clearly demonstrates Baffinland’s commitment to working cooperatively with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which represents the interests of residents of the Qikiqtaaluk Region. Resource development projects, such as Mary River, have the ability to have a profound positive effect and we will be working closely with the QIA to achieve this goal,” Paddon said.

Cathy Towtongie, president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. also chimed in with a message of congratulations.

“During the last 10 years, this project expended millions of dollars on goods and services from Inuit-owned businesses and joint ventures, and millions more employing and training Inuit and Northerners. I trust that the terms of the IIBA will put even more benefits into the hands of Inuit,” Towtongie said.

The agreement’s specific measures have not yet been released to the public, although a “Plain Language Guide to the Mary River Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement” is now available on the QIA website.

No financial information, including the value of various revenues flowing to QIA, has so far been released to the public.

An NTI news release said that because the Mary project sits on Inuit-owned land, and NTI holds subsurface title to part of the area, “Inuit will receive significant mineral royalties in the years to come.”

So far, none of the parties has disclosed the potential annual dollar amount of those Mary River royalty revenues.

Article 26 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement requires that before a large development project, like Mary River, can proceed in Nunavut, an IIBA must be reached with a designated Inuit organization.

For Mary River to operate as a mine, QIA and Baffinland also had to finalize a commercial production lease.

This lease deals with things like rent, boundaries, water use fees, a quarry concession agreement, environmental conditions, authorities for QIA inspectors and auditors, required plans and reporting, and the amount and type of financial security.

Baffinland wants to build an iron mine at Mary River that would produce 3.5 million tonnes of iron ore a year — a big step down from the much larger mine that the company planned to build until this past January, when owners announced they would go ahead with a scaled-down project.

The “early revenue” phase of that scaled-down project would lead eventually to the construction of a larger, approved project to be completed within five years — by early 2019 — and, by 2020, 20 million tonnes of ore would start flowing from Mary River.

The agreements will be in place throughout the life of the mine and “provide a structure to ensure both parties are cooperating to mutually benefit from the Mary River development.”

An open letter to beneficiaries of the QIA, posted Sept. 6, promised “Inuit will be involved in many aspects of this project and will be paying attention and taking part in making sure that these agreements are carried out and implemented in a meaningful way.

“It will be important for Inuit to become more involved in the implementation of these agreements in order to help realize critical roles for Inuit in environmental stewardship, training, education, social programming and helping to breathe life into environmental protection measures.”

The agreement’s specific measures have not yet been released to the public. No financial information include the value of various revenues flowing to QIA, have been released to the public.



COMMENTS from Nunatsiaq Online

September 9, 2013

#1. Posted by Hello Inuit on September 06, 2013

Important quotation—“The agreement’s specific measures have not yet been released to the public.

No financial information, including the value of various revenues flowing to QIA, has so far been released to the public.”

Hello Inuit you better start biting that pillow ‘cuz you are gonna get screwed good and hard.

Start looking out for all the new trucks and houses the QIA and QC staff will buy for themselves out of your benefit money.

#2. Posted by Hold on on September 07, 2013

#1; Please wait until the details are released before you start floating your malcontent. Let me guess, not living the high life you expected off the work of others?

#3. Posted by B Scott on September 07, 2013

Hey #1, I think you can make your point without using a rape/sexual assault reference. I personally find it offensive and am likely not alone.

Overt and subtle references to sexualized violence are sadly too common in our society. Enough already. Please find other ways to express your concerns.

Hey Nunatsiaq - there is a time and place for moderating these comments.

#4. Posted by Frustrated Beneficiary on September 07, 2013

These regional Inuit orgs use the beneficiaries for their own selfish purposes.  No benefits from these deals actually make it to the Inuit themselves, only for the people who work for these organizations and the board members….how $&@%ing sad!

#5. Posted by Izzydogg on September 07, 2013

It is finally done, but #1 is right, nothing is gonna go towards us Inuit. The people of the surrounding communities are gonna be screwed. They have been screwed before with contracts, and without notice BIM terminated them all and gave them to other’s. their are also Inuit who own the land in Mary River, whom are still alive and they won’t benefit from it. Not a singal cent will be given to them. Only good thing coming out from this is employment.

If it was to benefit the people I would love this deal but I know it won’t so it is not a huge deal.

#6. Posted by musher on September 07, 2013

Wow, optimism abounds but she’s a hard-rock business. There will be some large effects on the wildlife, the land, the waterways, etc. for sure. Best of Luck to the the people in the Baffin.

#7. Posted by Black Carbon Deal???? on September 07, 2013

Yikes OIA Pres calls it “Historic”.  Another one trying writing their own history? 

Did they stand-up for people and polar bears demanding Black-Carbon filtration? Or the environment isn’t historically important? Let it melt.  If Black carbon means nothing it’ll send pains of shock-waves of disgust around the world.

Looking at body language in the photos, bite lip, not looking at other and not releasing any information about deal days after announcing of a new communication person is sending message maybe it wasn’t a good historically deal.

Without details, have to wonder what played with the minds making the deal?  One the Olympics trip big time had to repaid back some how in mind.

The other big time mind game,making it huge project then reducing it to small scale.  Maybe in future will make it big. Yet this agreement is going to be in place for the life of the mind.  Another scary part.

#8. Posted by snapshot on September 07, 2013

Yes yes yes. This Inuk is very happy for the signing. Congrats to all the people that negotiated for this. It’s finally done.
I’m looking forward to bidding for contracts. To all the negative comments, keep on sulking.

#9. Posted by real islander on September 07, 2013

wow everyone must be all smiles for this,history in the making-haha history well alot of people been useing alot of this history this -history that,wow the INUIT are suppose to be in charge of their own ways and traditions,and according to the GN the INUIT are suppose to be number one priority for languages and what ever comes oout of the land. All this has been forgotten,inuit values and traditions were put aside and deal with profits first instead on listening to the people. We all may know that the future is here but it has been here sence we known time,if everything suppose to be inuit for inuit well that is gone,Yes the only people are happy the ones that worked on it and made some profit maybe.?Wonder what happened to work together as inuit with inuit and deal with rest of the world.We gave NUNAVUT away on a Silver PLater

#10. Posted by mack on September 07, 2013

Get Ready to work,prepare yourself,for an industrial job at site,2weeks in 2 weeks out, and 100k,a year,that is the most the average person will benifit,enjoy it.spend it wisely on your family.

#11. Posted by super henry on September 08, 2013

seriously??? maybe you should think 10-15 years in the future…who are these folks on the QIA board? oh yes, I know some of them….

#12. Posted by arcticredriver on September 08, 2013

Baffinland’s corporate history does not fill one with confidence.  Do a google search on Jowhat Waheed. 

There was an initial group of individuals, with a mineral rights claim to the mine-site—but without the financial resources to build the infrastructure.  They were seeking to partner with a firm with the financial resources.  They hired Jowhat Waheed, an experienced figure in the mining industry, as a consultant.  They had him sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Presumably the non-disclosure agreement was intended to prevent him revealing details he learned on his job to a firm that would mount a hostile take-over bid.  Did the terms of the non-disclosure agreement prevent Waheed from founding a new company specifically to mount a hostile take-over bid? 

The Ontario Securities Commission mounted an inquiry to see whether Waheed had violated its insider trading rules.  I am not aware if they have published their conclusions yet—but the whole deceit thing doesn’t bode well.

#13. Posted by Joe Inuk Business on September 08, 2013

Beyond the over-reactions, I’d like to see how this agreement will benefit me as a new Inuk business owner. Having a quick read on Section 6- Contracting Opportunities, I am struck how weak it reads when addressing the requirements for Baffinland to use Inuit businesses. It may be one notch stronger than the Federal rules on how contracts are awarded to businesses in Nunavut but words like ‘try to use’, ‘make every effort’, ‘commits to using it’s best efforts’, does not give me much confidence money will flow to Inuit companies.

The only mandatory item in this section is the ‘reporting requirement to QIA’.

My fear is the folks negotiating on behalf of Inuit business have never run a business before. Other than the $10 million cheque to QIA, the Inuit businesses may be left to the margins.

I will hold my criticism until I see which contracts will be available to Inuit businesses.

Tukisigiarviit: Isuma News