Champion Iron has agreed to purchase the Bloom Lake open-pit iron ore mine, related rail assets, and the Quinto mineral claims in Québec from affiliates of Cliffs Natural Resources. The assets are currently subject to restructuring proceedings.
The Bloom Lake mine and concentrator are located approximately 9 mi southwest of Fermont, Québec. Cliffs shut down production at the mine and placed it on care and maintenance in late 2014. Production in 2014 totaled 5.9 million metric tons (mt) of iron ore concentrate. Concentrate is transported 320 m by rail to a ship-loading port at Pointe Noire, Québec.
Bloom Lake has a rated capacity of 7.2 million mt/y of iron ore concentrate.
Champion Iron is an iron ore exploration and development company that has properties in Québec and Labrador. It is acquiring the Bloom Lake assets and Quinto claims for C$10.5 million in cash and assumption of certain liabilities. Champion also will become responsible for environmental obligations that include reclamation liabilities currently assessed at approximately C$41.7 million by the Québec government, as well as the replacement of certain bonds totaling approximately C$1.1 million.
Champion has identified opportunities to increase mine capacity at Bloom Lake. Previous operations produced a maximum of 6 million mt/y of fines grading 66% iron. Champion anticipates increasing production to more than 7 million mt/y at a similar grade, chiefly through implementation of a new mine plan and improved recoveries.
Champion also anticipates that it will be able to reduce operating costs.