The Qikiqtani Inuit Association issued a news release on Friday night stating that the organization has passed a resolution to withhold support for Baffinland Iron Mines’ proposed expansion of the Mary River Mine.
“QIA’s board gave priority to Inuit perspectives from impacted communities.” QIA president P.J. Akeeagok said. “QIA committed itself wholeheartedly to reviewing the phase two proposal, including developing a series of independent IQ (Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit) reports about the project, hosting numerous workshops, meetings, and discussions with impacted communities to weigh the pros and cons associated with the proposed expansion of the Mary River mine.
“Inuit did not participate in the development of the proposal, and key information about project impacts remain unclear. Therefore, the QIA Board will not recommend approval.
“QIA’s board of directors considered when making this important decision included the impacts from dust, impacts to wildlife including caribou, seals, and narwhal, and the limited incorporation of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and the absence of a jointly-developed Adaptive Management Plan.
“QIA’s board of directors remains open to resource development in the Qikiqtani Region and welcomes proposals from Baffinland that prioritize Inuit involvement from the beginning and which align with an Inuit vision of the future. The current Mary River project is permitted to operate on Inuit-owned lands. QIA will continue to uphold Inuit rights and interests with respect to the current project,” Akeeagok concluded.
Harvesters from Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay set up blockades at the mine site for several days in February out of opposition to Baffinland’s plans to increase iron ore production, build a railway and increase shipping.
Nunavut Impact Review Board public hearings for the proposed Mary River Mine expansion are scheduled April 12-21 in Iqaluit.
This is a well timed and necessary article for QIA to save their skin. But what people don’t research is that QIA had given approval to BIM for every contractor they hired to begin construction on the rail foundation and to bring up rail equipment. They were so happy to present the Inuit Certainty Agreement, thinking they had it in the bag. All while their documents fabricating support from the same communities they have been working so hard to keep quiet and out of the process.
Good decision, QIA. Now this gives us more opportunities to show the public what you have been doing behind closed doors.
I find it interesting that on the QIA website they are sure to make mention of the democratic process in which their members were elected and now representing us…..
But an unadvertised election, behind closed doors, with 6 or 8% voter turnout can hardly be bragged as “democratic.”
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