The president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) is heading to the Olympics in London this weekend.
Okalik Eegeesiak said the all-expenses-paid trip by ArcelorMittal won’t hurt her organization’s ability to negotiate benefits for Inuit.
"Part of this trip, too, is to urge ArcelorMittal of what Inuit would like to see in the IIBA and hope that we get even a better deal than what Baffinland might be able to offer," said Eegeesiak.
The QIA and Baffinland Iron Mines, which is owned in part by ArcelorMitall, are negotiating an impact benefit agreement for the proposed, multi-billion dollar Mary River project in Nunavut.
The negotiations towards that agreement are confidential, but Eegeesiak said they are in the final stage.
It’s not clear if other QIA board members have accepted their invitations to London. One member told CBC News he is still deciding.
Eegeesiak said that while the trip is for business, the Mary River project is not a done-deal. She said ArcelorMittal still needs to decide if it will ultimately go ahead with the project.
She said the QIA fully supports the project and is encouraging Baffinland and Arcelor to follow through.