Baffinland potentially forced to lay off 1,100 from iron mine: Nunavummiut react

Baffinland's request to increase the amount of ore that can be produced from 4.2 million tonnes to 6 million was denied by Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: The headline of this story has been changed to reflect the potential for layoffs as Baffinland if a deal is not reached between the company and the federal government. Furthermore, the story has been amended to include a full statement from Baffinland.  

Located on Baffin Island in Nunavut is an open-pit iron ore mine at the Mary River site, which is run by Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation. The location is used as a material offloading facility which supports loading operations and has been operating since 2015. This mine has some of the richest iron ore deposits and is one of the most northern mines in the entire world.

On July 31, 2022 the Canadian mining company sent termination letters to over 1,100 employees. The layoffs are expected to happen on two separate dates, with the first round on September 25 and the second round of layoffs on October 11. With Nunavut being one of the most remote communities in the world, it also comes as no surprise that work is extremely hard to find for the people living here, giving Nunavut an unemployment rate of 13.5 per cent.

An emergency order submitted by the mining company Baffinland requested to change the amount of ore that can be produced from 4.2 million tonnes to 6 million to avoid the layoffs that we are now seeing. The official decision on the emergency order to raise the limit of ore produced was given by the Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal, in which he confirmed via email that the emergency order will not be issued.

Rebel News spoke with some of the locals in Iqaluit to gather some opinions on the termination letters and whether or not they think this is an appropriate measure.

A statement provided to Rebel News after publication by Peter Akman, Baffinland head of stakeholder relations, details the lengths to which the company is going to reach a last-minute deal with the feds to avert layoffs at the mine: 

"We are meeting daily with our stakeholders, partners, communities and hamlets to ensure we hear their suggestions and comments around the continuation of our 6.0 Mt permit for 2022 and beyond. We have been permitted to mine at 6.0 million tonnes of iron ore since 2018. We are pleased to have received public support on our 6.0 application from the hamlets of Pond Inlet, Arctic Bay and Sanirajak, several of the HTOs as well as the Elders Advisory Committee of Pond Inlet.

It is our hope that the expedited NIRB process to review our request to continue working at 6.0 Mt in 2022, which the Minister of Northern Affairs has encouraged and asked to be wrapped up by August 26th, will result in a mutually beneficial agreement and the renewal of our 6.0 permit. If that happens, we will rescind the termination notices."

You can view all of my coverage from Nunavut at

If you appreciate the honest and independent journalism we are providing, you can consider making a donation to help cover my travel costs through that same website.

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