The commercial production phase will be followed by an estimated three year reclamation phase and a minimum of fiveyears dedicated to a post-closure environmental monitoring phase.During operation there will be permanent work camps at Mary River, Milne Inlet and Steensby Inlet. During constructionadditional camps will be required along the rail line. At the peak of construction over one-thousand employees will berequired. Later, during the operation of the mine there will be between 700-900 workers required for all projectactivities.
Vast iron ore deposits in what is now the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut were first discovered by mining prospectorMurray Watts during the 1960’s. For the next 20 years, Watts tried to find financial backing to develop these resources,but given the weak global ore prices and the logistical challenges of the Arctic, no company was willing to make such amassive investment in the infrastructure needed to build a mine.In 1978, Queen’s University MBA student Gordon McCreary wrote a thesis in the viability of transporting from the MaryRiver site, concluding that while transportation is a key challenge, it would become a mine one day when the economicconditions were right.In 2004, BIMC began advanced exploration of the deposits, and completed a bulk sampling program in 2007 and 2008which involved mining and transporting 113,000 tonnes of iron ore through the port at Milne Inlet. To carry out theprogram, BIMC consulted with Inuit communities, and also worked closely with Inuit firms such as the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation and Nuna Logistics Ltd. Testing of the bulk sample in Europe confirmed the high grade of the ore at theMary River site.In 2006, a global iron ore shortage increased demand for iron and unlocked the potential for development of the MaryRiver Project. In September 2006, BIMC began talks with QIA on mine development and an IIBA.In 2007, BIMC began formal consultations with the seven communities most impacted by the mine: Arctic Bay, CapeDorset, Clyde River, Igloolik, Hall Beach, Kimmirut and Pond Inlet. During this period, reports indicate that Arctic Icehas shrunk to the lowest total area on record, making Arctic shipping more viable than in the past. However, BIMC wassignificantly impacted by the collapse of the global financial markets in 2007, and the global demand for iron oredropped sharply.The environmental assessment process began in 2005, with BIMC starting work on the Environmental Impact Statement(EIS) in pursuit of federal approval for the Project and the issuance of the Project Certificate by the Nunavut ImpactReview Board (NIRB). This process involved numerous scientific studies as well as the collection of InuitQaujimajatuqangit and extensive community consultation. The Mary River Project received federal government approvalon December 3, 2012, and NIRB issued a Project Certificate on December 28, 2012.In January of 2013, BIMC notified NIRB that as a result of various economic drivers it would be unable to move directlyinto full scale operations, and applied to amend to Project Certificate to reflect this in anticipated mining activities andproduction. BIMC modified its Final Environmental Impact Statement to propose an Early Revenue Phase, a scaled-back operation involving only the Milne Inlet port. It is estimated that this phase will see 0.5 million tonnes of ore shipped in2014, 2.0 million tonnes in 2015, and 3.5 million tonnes of ore each year after for the remaining duration of the Project.Railway, facility and Steensby Port development will be deferred until the global economy improves and capital becomesmore readily available to BIMC.While BIMC is unable to say with certainty when this will occur, the amended EIS assumes that construction of infrastructure for the full Project will be completed in five years, with the first ore being shipped out of Steensby in 2019.