LABRADOR – Toronto-based CONSOLIDATED THOMPSON IRON MINES has struck a deal to buy a majority interest in the Wabush Mines joint venture. The deal involves buying out the 44.6% share held by STELCO of Hamilton, Ont., and the 26.8% share owned by CLEVELAND-CLIFFS of Cleveland, Ohio.
Steelmaker DOFASCO INC. holds a 28.6% share of the venture. It has a 90-day purchase option on the shares of Wabush Mines it does not currently hold. If Dofasco exercises its option, the Thompson deal will not go through.
The joint venture operates the Scully iron ore mine at Wabush, Nfld., and the Point-Noire pelletizing plant, a harbour and port facilities at Sept-Iles, Que. Current annual capacity is 4.8 million tonnes of iron ore pellets.
Thompson sees the purchase of Wabush Mines as a means of becoming an integrated producer immediately. Synergies between Wabush and Thompsons Bloom Lake iron ore project would accelerate the development timeline at Bloom Lake. That deposit contains an estimated 637.7 million t of measured and indicated resources grading 29.8% Fe. It could be put into production as a stand-alone operation at a rate of 7.0 million t/y of pellets.
The Bloom Lake scoping study is posted at www.ConsolidatedThompson.com.