Steel Mills

ArcelorMittal Arctic Ore Mine to Begin Production in Q3

Written by Sandy Williams

ArcelorMittal’s Canadian iron ore project may begin production as early as third quarter 2014. Last week the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development gave final approval for Baffinland Iron Mines, a 50/50 venture between ArcelorMittal and Nunavut Iron Ore, to commence operations.

The mine is located in the Qikiqtani region of Nunavit, over 300 miles inside the Arctic Circle on the Mary River. The initial $700 million “early revenue phase” of the project is expected to produce 3.5 million tonnes (3.86 million tons) of iron ore annually. The ore will be trucked to Milne Inlet throughout the year to await loading and shipping during the open water season. Construction on the site commenced in Q2 2013

The high quality ore at Baffinland Iron Mines is a Tier 1 reserve. It does not require processing or pelletizing which results in tailings; it needs only crushing and screening before being shipped to customers. The product will consist of 75% high-grade lump and 25% fines. The Mary River mine is estimated to contain 373 million tonnes (411 million tons) of reserves and a life expectancy of 20 years. There are nine ore deposits in the Mary River Property.

Based on estimates from the first mine, the total potential output at Baffinland Iron Mines is between 18 and 30 million tonnes of ore per year.

On the ArcelorMittal website, CFO Aditya Mittal explains the challenges of mining in this region: “There is a reason why it has not been mined to date and that is the extremely harsh conditions. No amount of reading can really prepare you for the experience of actually being here. This is certainly one of the boldest projects that ArcelorMittal has ever undertaken, and bringing Baffinland into production will be an important step in transforming ArcelorMittal from a world-class steel company into a world-class steel and mining company.”

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