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Iqaluit, Nunavut, October 4, 2022 – The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) has conducted a preliminary review of the Responsible Minister’s decision on Baffinland’s 2022 Production Increase Proposal Application (2022 PIP Application).
QIA is pleased to see that the Responsible Minister, Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal, included several new commitments required for the 2022 PIP Application to address concerns about impacts on Inuit rights. QIA supports the 2022 PIP Application proceeding, based on the Minister’s decision to add new commitments and substantial amendments to the Project Certificate, as this ensures the rights and interests of Inuit are adequately addressed for the 2022 PIP Application.
QIA, as the Designated Inuit Organization, is responsible to represent Inuit rights for impact assessment and benefits agreements regarding mining projects in the Qikiqtani Region. This is particularly important when the activities are occurring on Inuit Owned Lands and accessing minerals to which Inuit own mineral rights. QIA’s decisions are informed by input from Community Directors, information from community members, the views of community organizations such as HTOs and Hamlets, technical and legal advice, past experiences, and organizational knowledge.
Some of the highlights to note about the Minister’s decision include several significant new and improved conditions in the NIRB Project Certificate:
“I would like to thank Inuit and the Hunters and Trappers Organizations for their dedication to thoughtfully respond to this newest Baffinland proposal. This is the seventh proposal in ten years to change or expand the Mary River Project and there has been a lot of anxiety after hearing that Baffinland was indicating that they would need to lay off Inuit employees and contractors. I feel the Minister listened to Inuit views when making his decision” said Olayuk Akesuk, President of QIA
These changes to the NIRB Project Certificate and other new enforceable commitments for the Mary River Project set a new standard for protection of Inuit rights founded on direct Inuit involvement in project assessment and monitoring.
The QIA Board of Directors looks forward to the next steps and plans to focus its primary attention on working with Inuit in impacted communities and the Hunters and Trappers Organizations to continue to collect, verify, and apply Inuit Qqaujimajatuqangit as a meaningful way of ensuring Inuit rights and culture are protected when decisions are made about the operation of the current Mary River Project.
Qikiqtani Inuit were able to use this difficult circumstance to make permanent and large changes to the Project Certificate Terms and Conditions, this will give us comfort that more tools are in place to address Inuit concerns.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Director, Strategic Communications
Qikiqtani Inuit Association
(P) 867.975.8398 or toll-free 1.800.667.2742