Inuit in northern Quebec are calling for another review to look at what the Baffinland iron ore mining project in Nunavut could mean for them.
Final hearings for the massive project in Nunavut begin next week. The hearings are the last step before a decision is made on whether Baffinland’s mine can go ahead.
The Nunavut Impact Review board has been studying the project for years, but Nunavik’s Makivik Corporation now says nothing should go ahead until an environmental assessment is done in Nunavik.
In a letter to the federal government, Makivik president Jobie Tukkiapik spells out his concerns. Makivik Corporation has been granted intervenor status at the hearings.
In the letter, Tukkiapik says Baffinland’s plan to ship ore year-round through Hudson Strait will have a direct impact on marine life and the people in Nunavik who harvest those animals.
Tukkiapik also said in the letter than an oil spill in Hudson Strait is "highly likely" given the expected increase in ship traffic when the mine opens.
Baffinland plans to move about 18 million tonnes of ore each year for at least the next two decades. In its own environmental review of the project, it said an oil spill in the Hudson Strait is unlikely. It also said there will be no impacts on the environment from shipping through the area.
In a written response to Makivik, federal officials said no decision has been made about Makivik’s request. The government urged the corporation to take part in the Nunavut Impact Review Board review by continuing to tell Baffinland its concerns and by attending the public hearings.
The final hearings will be in Iqaluit next week and Igloolik and Pond Inlet the week after. The proposed mine will be located about 160 kilometres south of Pond Inlet.