Steel Mills

Bedrock Eyes Purchase of Quebec Iron Ore Pellet Plant

Written by Sandy Williams

The United Steelworkers and Bedrock Industries announced they will begin negotiations for a new collective agreement for workers at the Pointe-Noire iron pellet plant in Quebec. Bedrock Industries notified the USW of its intention to purchase and restart the facility.

The pellet plant, formerly owned by Cliffs Natural Resources, closed in 2013 and is currently owned by SFP Pointe-Noire and under protection by the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

“Bedrock Industries has informed us of its intention to relaunch the plant and its desire to negotiate a collective agreement. This is great news for the community. We will make every effort to ensure that the conditions are right for the plant’s reopening,” said Nicolas Lapierre, Steelworkers’ Coordinator for Quebec’s North Shore region.

Bedrock Industries is the majority owner of Stelco Steel. Key Banc analyst Phil Gibbs suggests that the pairing of Pointe-Noire and Stelco “is a perfect natural hedge for Stelco should it restart the long-idled Hamilton blast furnace.”

Pointe Noire

The Hamilton facility has a slab production capacity of 2 million tons annually, which requires about 6.5 million tons of iron ore. Stelco currently is under contract with U.S. Steel for 4.0 million tons until 2021, so the acquisition of Pointe-Noire by its majority owner would be to Stelco’s advantage. The pellet plant has a nominal capacity of 6.6 million tons. The facility is ideally located near the Sept-Îles deep-water seaport, easily accessing both the Great Lakes and seaborne markets.

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