|Baffinland’s initial long-term plans for the Mary River property—one of the most isolated mining sites in the world—targets production of 18 million to 30 million mt/y of iron ore from Deposit No. 1 in a year-round operation.|
Baffinland has received Canadian federal government approval to start “early-revenue-phase” shipping of iron ore from its Mary River project on northwest Baffin Island. The approval from the federal minister of aboriginal affairs and northern development followed a positive recommendation by the Nunavut Impact Review Board. During the project’s early revenue phase, Baffinland will be allowed to ship 3.5 million metric tons per year (mt/y) during the open-water summer shipping season and expects to make its first shipment during the 2015 season.
Baffinland is owned 50% by Arcelor-Mittal and 50% by Nunavut Iron Ore, with ArcelorMittal as the project operator. The Mary River project is located well within the Arctic Circle and hosts a number of high-grade lump and fine iron-ore deposits that can be mined, crushed and screened into saleable products.
Baffinland has a long-term goal of developing the project’s Deposit No. 1 to produce between 18 million and 30 million mt/y of iron ore, operating year-round. The deposit has current measured and indicated resources of more than 350 million mt at an average grade of more than 64% iron. Construction at the mine site began during the second quarter of 2013, and mining of iron ore is scheduled to begin during the third quarter of 2014.
The Mary River site is one of the most isolated mining sites in the world and will be the first large open-pit mine in North America at this latitude. The project area experiences very cold temperatures that average minus 30°C in the winter, with 24-hour darkness from November to January. Summers bring 24-hour daylight from May to August but continued cool to cold conditions. These conditions, noted the company, require special consideration in the planning and logistics of most project activities, but especially shipping, procurement, construction and field investigations.