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Hamlet of Pond Inlet makes proposal to end Mary River blockade

Pond Inlet Mayor Joshua Arreak has put forth terms to end the blockade at Baffinland's Mary River mine, which lies 160 km south of his community. Hark Nijjar Photography

Pond Inlet Mayor Joshua Arreak has presented terms that will allow protesters at the Mary River iron mine to stand down and he is calling for a meeting as soon as possible to agree upon those conditions.

The proposal entails:

  • A firm commitment from Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) to share a greater portion of royalties an revenues from Baffinland's activities. "We want more support for community-based economic development and resources for meeting the social needs of our communities. We are not satisified with the benefits we are currently receiving. This is an important issue for our protesters."
  • Making clear to the QIA and NTI the protesters' environmental, social and cultural concerns, including traditional sources of food.
  • Having the QIA and NTI acknowledge those concerns and confirm that "they are understood and appreciated."
  • Obtaining NTI and QIA support for North Baffin communities and organizations in moving toward the completion of regulatory hearings for Baffinland's phase two expansion plans at the Mary River mine. "We are not supportive of the phase two proposal in its current forum," the Hamlet of Pond Inlet's letter states.

The letter expresses concern that because Baffinland is applying for a court injunction, there's a possibility that the RCMP are "likely to move quickly to end the blockade. This (proposal) is in the interests of protecting protesters and making sure that no harm comes to them."

The protesters comprise hunters from Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay. They have been at the mine site for the past week.

Arreak's letter is addressed to various representatives of the QIA, NTI, the chair of the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization, Premier Joe Savikataaq and MLA David Qamaniq.

About the Author: Derek Neary

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