Champion Iron initiated work to double production of iron ore concentrate at its Bloom Lake mine in northeast Quebec. The decision to proceed was based on a Phase II feasibility study that supports increasing production of 66.2% iron ore concentrate from 7.4 million metric tons per year (mt/y) to 15 million mt/y. Mine life is estimated at 20 years.
Champion’s board of directors has approved an initial budget of C$68 million to advance the project during the remainder of 2019. Finalization of additional funding for the project is planned for completion before mid-2020. Initial capital to develop the project is estimated at C$589.8 million.
Processing plant design for the Phase II concentrator is based on the currently operating Phase I design, with minor changes to improve performance. Most of the major equipment can be sourced on site from a previous owner’s expansion project that was interrupted in 2012.
The Phase II mine plan continues with a conventional, owner-operated surface mining method. Electric hydraulic shovels will be complemented by front-end loaders to allow a flexible mine plan. Additional drilling and hauling capacity will be added as mine tonnages increase starting in January 2021. The average strip ratio of the open pit is 0.88.
The Bloom Lake expansion project benefits from excellent access to power, water, roads, rail, ports, and a highly professional mining labor market, as well as the government of Quebec’s continued support of new investment and mining.
The Phase II expansion feasibility study was conducted by BBA Inc.
Bloom Lake’s proven and probable mineral reserves are estimated at 807 million mt at an average grade of 29% iron-based on a cut-off grade of 15% iron. The mineral reserve was estimated using a long-term concentrate price of US$60.89/dry metric ton (dmt) for 62% iron content, with a premium of US$12.7/dmt for the 66.2% iron concentrate that Bloom Lake will produce.
The Bloom Lake property is on the south end of the Labrador Trough, approximately 13 km north of Fermont, Quebec, and 10 km north of ArcelorMittal Mines Canada’s Mount-Wright mining operation. Iron ore concentrate is transported by rail to a port in Sept-Îles, Quebec.