Inuit group votes against supporting Nunavut mine expansion

DM

An Inuit organisation in the territory of Nunavut in northern Canada has voted against backing the planned expansion of a contentious iron ore mine, after local Inuit communities raised staunch opposition to the proposal. The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) said in a statement on Friday that its board of directors passed a resolution to not support the expansion of the Mary River mine on Baffin Island, in the Arctic Archipelago. The QIA is mandated to protect Inuit rights and interests in the area. The company in charge of the mine, Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation, had proposed doubling its output from six to 12 million tonnes a year, and building a 110km railway connecting the site to a port, as well as a second port dock from which to ship the material. “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 President PJ Akeeagok said in the group’s statement. Inuit hunters had erected a blockade at the Mary River mine last month to protest against the proposed expansion, known as phase two of development.

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