The Nunavut Impact Review Board is unwilling to grant Baffinland Iron Mines’ motion to resume Mary River phase two expansion public hearings on Oct. 30.
Among the reasons cited by the board is that many North Baffin community members and organizations need additional time to prepare for the next steps in the NIRB assessment process and to address other issues such as the Inuit Certainty Agreement recently negotiated between Baffinland and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.
NIRB also agreed to delay the upcoming Baffinland technical meetings by two weeks, to Sept. 14-18, to accommodate “reasonable” requests for more preparation time from representatives of the five affected communities in the North Baffin – Pond Inlet, Iglulik, Sanirajak, Arctic Bay and Clyde River.
A Monday letter signed by NIRB chair Kaviq Kaluraq indicates that the review board may issue a tentative timeline for the dates to reconvene the public hearing shortly after the technical meetings conclude.
NIRB acknowledged the challenges posed by Covid-19 precautionary measures but states that “the board cannot suspend proceedings indefinitely until a full return to normal processes is possible,” which is what the mayors and HTO chairs in the five affected communities recently requested.
“…the board sees the conduct of these modified in-person meetings as an important opportunity to gain experience with technology and modified practices that will assist the NIRB in developing the procedural guidance necessary to conduct in-person meetings that meet both the board’s objectives and that also comply with public health measures,” NIRB’s letter states.