February 10, 2011

Baffinland Iron Mine

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, I would like to join His Honour in welcoming Speaker Okalik.

There have been significant events that have recently occurred in Nunavut and, indeed, in the international marketplace that I believe will have a profound and lasting effect on the economic future of this rich region of Arctic Canada, which I am proud to represent in this chamber.

The events I am referring to are Baffinland Iron Mines being acquired by ArcelorMittal and Nunavut Iron Ore.

As you have heard from me before, Baffinland held the rights to the Mary River Project, one of the richest iron ore projects in the world, a veritable mountain of hematite, which is located on northern Baffin Island.

Baffinland had been advancing the Mary River Project for years and it had reached a point where significant capital was needed to take the project through the final development and then on to the mining stage.

While it is known that Mary River has reserves lasting at least 21 years, there are literally hundreds of millions of tonnes of future iron ore resources, which means that this project will provide decades of benefits through training, employment and business opportunities to the communities of the North Baffin and other regions of Nunavut.

Moreover, the mine will provide significant revenues to the Government of Nunavut and the Qikiqitani Inuit Association, which will respectively receive taxation and royalty revenues from the project. Equally important will be the contribution that this $6 billion project will make to the GDP of our country and revenues for our federal government.

For those of you who are not familiar with the companies that acquired this development, ArcelorMittal is the largest steel manufacturing company in the world and the fourth largest iron ore miner globally.

From a Canadian perspective, ArcelorMittal is no stranger to this country, being the owner of ArcelorMittal Dofasco and ArcelorMittal Mines Canada, formerly known as Quebec Cartier Mining, together employing over 7,000 Canadians.

It is also worth mentioning that several senior members from ArcelorMittal have significant cold regions mining project experience. Phil Du Toit, the new CEO, led the implementation of Northwest Territories’ successful Diavik diamond mine and the Voisey’s Bay nickel mine in Labrador. Peter Kukielski was chief operating officer at Teck Resources and was responsible for the Red Dog zinc mine in Alaska, and, similarly, while COO of Falconbridge, he was responsible for the Raglan nickel mine in the Nunavik region of Northern Quebec.

ArcelorMittal mining team is completing a green field mining project in Liberia and, as such, will be the first mining company to bring iron ore production to West Africa. They are aiming to achieve the same pioneering feat in Nunavut. ArcelorMittal’s partner Nunavut Iron Ore is a company that was established to bid for Baffinland, and during the bidding process, Nunavut Iron Ore and ArcelorMittal joined forces to secure the deal.

ArcelorMittal have confirmed that they intend immediately to pursue development of the project.

Mary River is very unique in a very unique and special part of the world.

This project potentially presents tremendous opportunity for the Nunavut labour force and private sector and significant opportunities for Canada. While the project is currently in the regulatory process, I remain confident that Nunavut boards and agencies will make the necessary decisions and recommendations that will ensure the Nunavut environment is respected and socio-economic impacts in nearby communities will be manageable and beneficial. I plan to meet the ArcelorMittal group later this month and look forward to hearing more about their plans for the years to come.

I know I speak for all honourable senators in welcoming and supporting ArcelorMittal as they pursue development of this special project in Nunavut.

 

Statement – Baffinland Iron Mine