Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation (Baffinland)’s Mary River mine site on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada, is one of the most northern mines in the world. Amongst the richest iron ore deposits ever discovered, the Mary River Property consists of nine-plus high-grade iron ore deposits that can be mined, crushed, and screened into marketable products.
Nine, high-grade deposits
We are currently focused on mining Deposit No. 1. Our final product, lumps and fines, are then shipped through our port facility at Milne Inlet, approximately 100 kilometres from the mine site. Due to the quality of the ore, no processing is required before shipping it to market, reducing overall impact to the environment and keeping production costs low. While the mine became operational in 2015 with the first shipments of iron ore to Europe, the Mary River Operation has been an operation over 55 years in the making.
In July 1962, Mary River’s high-grade iron ore – now known as Deposit No. 1 – was first noted by Murray Watts and Ron Sheardown. The two pilots were conducting an airborne reconnaissance project prospecting across central and northern Baffin Island. In 1986, newly-created Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation acquired the original land claim to develop a mine on the property. Early in the 2000s, we advanced plans to develop the mine. The original plans outlined the development of an 18 million tonne per annum (Mtpa) operation, focused on mining Deposit No. 1. The project also included the development of a railway approximately 150 kilometres south to Steensby Inlet.
In 2013, we decided on a phased-approach to development, incorporating community feedback along the way. We continued to refine our operations to accommodate the challenges of northern mining. On January 13, 2013, we proposed changes to the original project to the Nunavut Impact Review Board.
On April 29, 2014, the Federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada approved the positive recommendation by the Nunavut Impact Review Board. This gave Baffinland the go-ahead for the Early Revenue Phase (ERP) amendment to the Mary River Project involving the seasonal shipping of 3.5 million tonnes of iron ore from Milne Inlet on the north coast of Baffin Island.
With the development of the ERP, the Mary River Operation now consists of mining iron ore from the reserve at Deposit No. 1. We then transport ore from the mine by trucks to Milne Port and ship it to markets from the Milne Port during the open water season.
There are two main locations for the ERP – the mine site at Mary River and Milne Port north of the mine. The two sites are connected via a tote road. We’ve upgraded the tote road to enable safe and efficient transportation of ore by truck from the Mine site to Milne Port. Milne Port has been fully developed to accommodate a 3.5 million tonnes ore stockpile, an ore dock, maintenance facility, and associated infrastructure for the operation of the port facilities.
Health and Safety
Baffinland maintains a Health and Safety culture that is underpinned by the concepts of “Safety First, Always” and “Courageous Leadership”. The company has developed strong health and safety policies around this philosophy, and is dedicated to providing the necessary training and awareness programs so that employees can safely and effectively implement these policies.