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IQALUIT, NU, July 13, 2021 – Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation (“Baffinland”) today announced that it will avoid icebreaking activities this Spring in order to preserve the integrity of the Eclipse Sound summer narwhal stock.
“This decision is based on direct response to Inuit input and the recognition of an important community-based project occurring which overlaps with the planned start of the Baffinland shipping season. Baffinland understands the importance of narwhal, and also the importance of the construction of the Small Craft Harbour in Pond Inlet continuing this year,” said Brian Penney, President and CEO of Baffinland. “Without knowing what mitigation measures might be placed on the Small Craft Harbour construction activity, our decision to halt icebreaking for the Spring is based on the precautionary principle that is the foundation of our adaptive management plan.”
The trigger to commence the beginning of the 2021 shipping season will be the presence of a continuous path of 3/10ths or less ice concentrations between the entrance of Eclipse Sound and Milne Port. This concentration of ice is considered water with very little drift ice that does not require icebreaking. It is anticipated this will translate into an approximately two-week delay to Baffinland’s shipping season.
The icebreaker MV Botnica will still be present throughout the shipping season, and continue to be available for escorts as a precaution. However, it will not be engaged in active icebreaking activities nor will it enter Eclipse Sound until 3/10ths or less ice concentrations between the entrance of Eclipse Sound and Milne Port are present.
Figure 1. 1/10ths to 3/10ths (very open drift) ice coverage (Source: Transport Canada)
The decision to avoid icebreaking and thereby delay shipping in 2021 is not without significant risk to the Company. “Baffinland appreciates the time and effort dedicated by community members to provide their input. Through this participation, Baffinland has developed a strong response to its 2020 narwhal monitoring program findings for implementation during 2021 shipping operations, demonstrating a sincere and flexible commitment towards operating in a protective, precautionary, and adaptive manner,” said Penney.
Baffinland will apply the same precautionary principle in assessing icebreaking activities in the Fall and in future seasons.
For more information:
Manager, Stakeholder Relations
Baffinland Iron Mines
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