Baffinland’s Mary River Mine is located on Baffin Island north of the Arctic Circle in Nunavut, Canada. The mine is approximately 160km from the nearest community of Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik) in the Qikiqtani Region, and accesses the international buyers for its iron ore via a 100km Tote Road to Milne Port, located in Milne Inlet on the northern shore of Baffin Island.
Iron ore is primarily used in steel making. Steel is then used for the construction of many items you may interact with on a daily basis, including automobiles, snowmobiles, locomotives, ships, beams for buildings, furniture, and tools. Iron is the most-used metal by both tonnage and purpose.
Steel also plays a key role in renewable energy as a key input into the process of building wind turbines and other modern green technologies.
In accordance with the Nunavut Agreement, our operations are contingent upon agreements with the Designated Inuit Organization for the Qikiqtani Region, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA). We signed our first Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement (IIBA) in 2013, and an amended version in 2018.
Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreements, as defined by Nunavut Agreement Article 26, ensure that Inuit, economic, and cultural rights are respected by ensuring benefits are consistent with and promote Inuit cultural goals, and contribute to achieving and maintaining a standard of living among Inuit equal to that of persons other than Inuit living and working in the Nunavut Settlement Area, and to Canadians in general.
The Inuit Certainty Agreement (ICA), negotiated with the QIA in relation to the Phase 2 Proposal and signed in 2020, will lead to another amended IIBA in 2021, should Phase 2 be approved. The commitments agreed to under the Inuit Certainty Agreement will be incorporated into an amended IIBA and Commercial Lease for the Project. More information about the ICA is available here.
The ICA and amended IIBA will provide a framework for defining thresholds of acceptable change and additional mitigation measures that can be put into action if those thresholds are exceeded, based on direct input from Inuit, as well as delivering even greater benefits to Inuit
Baffinland employs more than 1,200 people at a number of locations; the Mary River Mine Site and Milne Port in Nunavut, Oakville, Ontario, our Northern Head Office in Iqaluit, and in our Community Offices located in Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Igloolik, Pond Inlet, and Sanirajak. Get contact information for all our offices here.
Baffinland’s Head Office is located in Oakville, Ontario.
The Phase 2 Expansion Project Proposal includes an increase in production and transportation of iron ore through Milne Port. This expansion includes the construction and operation of a new railway, the North Railway, a second ore dock at Milne Port, and an increase in the size and frequency of vessels calling on Milne Port during the shipping season.
The North Railway will connect the Mary River Mine Site to Milne Port, generally following the same alignment as the existing Milne Inlet Tote Road.
Keeping the railway and road in close proximity reduces the Project’s overall environmental footprint by reducing its zone of influence and eliminating the need for an additional road to support the railway.
The area where the North Railway deviates from the Milne Inlet Tote Road, known as the KM67 hill, is too steep for a train to safely navigate in the same way our trucks can. This area is about 26km long and at the farthest point deviates 7km away from the Tote Road.
The number and type of vessels calling on Milne Port in a given year will continue to be dependent on the amount of ore produced and stockpiled, as well as the types of vessels Baffinland can contract.
The Phase 2 environmental assessment has considered up to 176 ore carrier voyages in a season, and that is the maximum Baffinland would ever expect to use. A voyage constitutes the entering and exiting of a vessel within the Northern Shipping Route.
Baffinland will continue to manage its shipping season between periods of landfast ice, meaning our annual shipping season is dependent on ice conditions.
Supporting the communities that surround our Project is a critical component of our commitments to Nunavummiut.
Through the Baffinland Sponsorship and Donation Program we fund youth and sports camps, Elders gatherings, support food banks and school programming, as well as traditional activities. For information about the Sponsorship and Donation Program please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baffinland provides funding, such as a Wildlife Compensation Fund and a fuel subsidy program, to ensure that harvesters are supported when Project activities may impact harvesting activities.
We also support the Ilagiiktunut Nunalinnullu Pivalliajutisait Kiinaujat (Community Wellness Fund) which funds programs, up to $550K annually in partnership with the QIA, that support resilient communities, strong families, and job readiness. More information about these programs can be found here.
Baffinland, in partnership with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and the Ilisaqsivik Society based in Clyde River, Nunavut, delivers community counselling support services. To access these services please contact the society here.
Benefits to employees, communities, Inuit Organizations, and Governments are important facets of the Mary River Project.
Our mining operations provide tax revenues for Governments, employment and training opportunities for Canadians, and royalties to Qikiqtani Inuit.
In 2019 alone, Baffinland and its contractors paid over $20 million dollars in wages to Inuit employed at the Mary River Project. Between 2013-2019, Baffinland provided over $65 million in wages to Inuit employed at the Mary River Project.
Procurement and Contracting opportunities with Inuit Owned firms have resulted in over $1.2 billion in contracts awarded to Inuit Firms at the end of 2019. This is part of Baffinland’s ongoing commitment to ensure that Inuit business benefit from the Mary River Project.
The Company has also provided over 100,000 hours of training to Inuit employed at the Mary River Project since 2013. This includes apprenticeships, heavy equipment operations, and pre-employment training programs.
Scholarships: Baffinland fundsfive $5,000 scholarships are available annually to Inuit enrolled under the Nunavut Agreement and pursuing a post-secondary education. The study area of scholarship recipients evolves every year to reflect the emerging needs and trends of the extractive industry in the north. For more information on Baffinland’s scholarship program, contact your Baffinland Community Liaison Officer.
Laptop Donations:Each year the Company provides every North Baffin High School Graduate with a laptop to celebrate their success and support their ongoing studies.
Lunch Program: Our school lunch program provides up to $300,000 annually in funding to be shared by schools in the impacted North Baffin communities. One such school to utilize this program is the Ataguttaaluk Elementary School in Igloolik, where roughly 40,000 meals were served to students. Daily meals provide the school’s Kindergarten to Grade 7 students with healthy choices, including Country foods when available from the Igloolik Hunters and Trappers Organization. Read more about the Ataguttaaluk’s participation here.
For more benefits of the Mary River Project, read our latest IIBA Newsletter here.
Phase 2 provides necessary financial stability to the Project that will ensure career opportunities for Inuit are in place for the long term.
New career opportunities in construction as well as railway operation and maintenance will be introduced with Phase 2. Baffinland is committed to ensuring that no Inuit lose career opportunities at the Mary River Project as a result of the Phase 2 Proposal. Baffinland is committed to retraining employees into other suitable site based roles, as well as completing interviews with each and every Inuit employee to help them reach their career goals.
The Phase 2 Expansion Project creates the potential for Baffinland to extend additional benefits, many of which are defined in the Inuit Certainty Agreement (ICA), to Inuit and the North Baffin Communities. Some of the additional benefits under the ICA include:
Early Childhood Care Allowance: Inuit residents of Nunavut employed with Baffinland at the Mary River Project who have children under 14 years of age, can receive a fixed subsidy per child, per day. This subsidy is intended to reduce the barrier of affordable childcare that many Inuit workers face, especially women.
Childcare Facilities: Baffinland will provide up to $3 million per affected community ($15 million total) for childcare facilities in each of the affected communities. This benefit will be extended to Kimmirut and Kinngait when the southern (Steensby Inlet) portion of the Project is developed.
Financial Benefits: Royalties paid to Inuit will increase to 3.00% over the 6-year period following approval of Phase 2. Based on the current mine life expected for Deposit 1, the royalties to Inuit will exceed $900 million. This is in addition to $1.4 billion that will flow to Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated in the form of the “Federal Mineral Royalty”.
Regional Harvesters Support: Will be provided in the form of a $750,000 “Regional Harvesters Support Program” which shared amongst the Hunters and Trappers Organizations in the affected communities.
IIBA Programs for Life of Mine: Many existing IIBA Programs such as the Community Wellness Fund, Business Capacity, and Startup Fund, and Harvesters Enabling Program, among others, have been extended for the life of mine.
Community Direct Benefits and Measurable Objectives: The Qikiqtani Inuit Association is committed to developing a Community Direct Benefits Fund that will ensure affected communities have greater participation in the financial benefits of the Project. This will include any penalty payments made by Baffinland for failure to meet measurable objectives being delivered to Communities through this fund.
While Phase 2 presents a significant increase in benefits for communities and Inuit, it is also essential for the continuation of the Project.
Under the Inuit Certainty Agreement, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association will establish an Inuit Stewardship Program, funded by Baffinland, to ensure that Inuit play an active role in Project monitoring and actions.
The Inuit Stewardship Plan will be overseen by an Inuit Oversight Committee and Inuit Social Oversight Committee to ensure effective Inuit led monitoring of the physical and socio-economic environments of the Project and affected communities.
The Committees will include members of the affected communities to ensure that Inuit and Inuit knowledge have a key influence in monitoring and Project oversight. This includes ensuring Inuit play a role in Adaptive Management at the Project.
These Committees, and the commitments in the Inuit Certainty Agreement will improve terrestrial, marine, and socio economic monitoring at the Project.
Baffinland undertakes a combination of monitoring programs and scientific studies annually to monitor and assess potential changes in the terrestrial environment, inclusive of wildlife.
Baffinland works with Inuit to ensure Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit has informed the design and analysis of our monitoring programs and mitigation measures.
To minimize potential effects on caribou, Baffinland implements a number of mitigation strategies. Some of these strategies have been informed by our community engagement:
Restricting blasting when caribou are spotted within the Project area.
Reducing Project footprint to minimize disturbances to caribou habitat.
Apply dust suppressant to minimize dust from the Project on caribou forage.
Having wildlife monitors during the calving season.
Subject to safety requirements, having all helicopters follow cruising altitude of 650 m above ground level during point-to-point travel.
Pilots shall report caribou movements and locations during calving and post-calving periods, so that these areas can be avoided.
Whenever practical and not causing a human safety issue, a stop work order will be used when wildlife in the area may become endangered (i.e., risk of physical injury or death) by the work being undertaken.
Baffinland also closely manages its activities along the Tote Road to ensure minimal disturbance to caribou, including:
Maintain a snow bank height less than 1 m along Tote Road with smooth top edges to allow caribou to cross the transportation corridor without being blocked by steep snow banks.
Truck drivers will be provided with wildlife awareness training including known crossing locations. Drivers will use the Caribou Decision Framework, which inform drivers to be on high alert, slow their speeds, or cease activities along the Tote Road if caribou are spotted.
Baffinland undertakes a combination of monitoring programs and scientific studies annually to monitor and assess potential changes in the marine environment, inclusive of marine wildlife.
Baffinland works with Inuit to ensure Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit has informed the design and analysis of our monitoring programs and mitigation measures.
To minimize potential effects on marine wildlife, Baffinland implements a number of mitigation strategies. Many of these strategies have been informed by our community engagement:
Use of Marine Wildlife Observers onboard icebreaker vessels at the start and end of the shipping season to avoid any ship strikes with marine mammals during their in and out migration of the Project area.
Implementation of a ship transit restriction regime during the shipping season to minimize impact on wildlife from underwater noise generated by Project vessels.
Implementation of a voluntary 9 knot speed restriction for all vessels travelling along the established shipping corridor. This speed restriction is the lowest imposed for all vessels travelling in Canadian waters. Vessels travelling at lower speeds are less noisy, and also reduce risk for ship strikes with marine mammals.
Restricted shipping zones with the Project area that are known to be ecologically significant and sensitive for narwhal, including Koluktoo Bay, the shoreline of Bruce Head and Tremblay Sound.
Vessels awaiting an icebreaker escort, or vessels awaiting instructions from the Port Captain to enter the regional study area will be instructed to wait in Baffin Bay at least 40 km east of the Nunavut Settlement Area. This helps to avoid narwhal waiting to begin their in-migration to the Project area from being exposed to vessel noise from ships waiting to enter.
Limiting the number of vessels at an anchorage location outside of the Port area to reduce disturbance to wildlife or to human activity in the area.
With the growth of the Mary River Project since 2013, long term career opportunities continue to expand.
Baffinland has and continues to invest in training for its employees, and prospective employees through the various programs outlined in the Mary River Project Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement (IIBA).
A minimum of $1.5 million will be invested annually for the life of the mine to support Inuit specific training programs.
Baffinland has also committed $10 million towards the development of a training center in Pond Inlet in collaboration with the QIA.
Baffinland, in partnership with the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA), the Government of Canada, the Government of Nunavut and Kakivak Association, launched the Qikiqtani Skills and Training for Employment Partnership, or Q-STEP, in 2017. The primary goal of Q-STEP is to increase Inuit employment in the Qikiqtani Region in industries such as mining. Through the Q-STEP partnership, Baffinland provides a number of education and training programs throughout the year in different locations. To access Q-STEP programs, you must register online with QIA’s labour pool database, Tuttarvik. For information or to register with Tuttarvik, visit www.tuttarvik.qia.ca.
Apprenticeship training, heavy equipment operator training, internships, and seasonal opportunities exist for those interested to work at the Mary River Mine.
We remain committed to ensuring that Inuit who reside in the affected communities and throughout the Qikiqtani Region of Nunavut receive priority hiring preference as outlined in the IIBA.
All available career opportunities are posted on our careers portal here. For more information about working at Baffinland, visit our Employment Section here or email your resume to email@example.com.
Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation (Baffinland) is a Canadian mining company, mining iron ore at the Mary River operation in the Qikiqtani region of North Baffin, Nunavut, Canada. It is jointly owned by The Energy and Minerals Group and ArcelorMittal and operates a high-grade iron ore mine here. Our mine produces the highest grade of direct shipping iron ore in the world. Baffinland is committed to operating the Mary River Mine in an environmentally and socially responsible manner that benefits all stakeholders.