QUEBEC – At a press conference yesterday, Champion Iron subsidiary Quebec Iron Ore confirmed that mining at the Bloom Lake iron ore mine near Fermont will restart in March 2018. QIO has funding and offtake agreements in place. A benefits agreement has also been signed with the Innu of Uashat mak Mani-utenam.
The Bloom Lake iron concentrator. (Image: Champion Iron)
Champion acquired the Bloom Lake property in April 2016. Reopening will require a total investment of more than $160 million. The government of Quebec will be an equity partner by supplying 36.8% of the cost. About 450 people will be hired to facilitate the restart of mining and processing.
The Bloom Lake feasibility study was announced in February 2017. Since that time 250 workers have been hired, and a three-year, draft contract signed with the Syndicat des Metallos. A fleet of rail cars has been purchased and arrangements made for railway transport with Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway as well as transshipment through Pointe-Noire.
Additionally, Champion pointed out that the reopened project will be more environmentally responsible than the previous operation. An energy efficient electrode steam boiler has been installed. An overhead conveyor for ore transport will reduce the use of trucks and fossil fuels. Improvements have also been made to the tailings management facilities.
Bloom Lake contains reserves of 411.7 million tonnes at an average grade of 30% iron. Plans call for average annual production of 7.4 million tonnes of concentrate over a life of 21 years.
Additional information about the Bloom Lake project is available at www.ChampionIron.com.