Baffinland Iron Mines Corp., has taken a formal step toward laying off hundreds of workers at its Mary River mine, filing a notice with the Nunavut Labour Standards Compliance Office on Friday.

The move sets the stage for the mining company to possibly lay off more than 1,300 of its workers from its iron mine located in northern Baffin Island, near the end of September. At least 209 of those employees are Inuit.

The move comes after Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal’s June 1 rejection of Baffinland chief executive officer Brian Penney’s May 26 request for an emergency order to allow the company to ship six million tonnes of iron ore in 2022, rather than the 4.2 million tonnes allowed under its current permit.

Local 793 Business Manager Mike Gallagher said he is disappointed with the situation and is still hoping layoffs can be avoided.

“We really would like to see this whole thing cleared up as quickly as possible, and the fastest way to do that, I think, is to have the minister approve the emergency application,” he said.

Business Manager Gallagher said employee voices are not being heard by regulators or decision-makers.

“We just feel that, in spite of all of our efforts … the voices aren’t being heard. The members clearly want the mine work to continue,” he said.

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