Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines announced in mid-May 2010 receipt of a positive feasibility study for an increase in production capacity at its Bloom Lake iron mine in Quebec, Canada, from 8 million to 16 million mt/y of 66.5% Fe concentrate. Consolidated Thompson started production at Bloom Lake during the first quarter of 2010, and deliveries under previously signed off-take agreements were scheduled to begin in June.
Based on the results of the feasibility study, Thompson’s board of directors has approved the increase in production to 16 million mt/y at total capital expenditures of $525 million. Final engineering planning is under way, and construction of the project is expected to begin during the third quarter of 2010. Thompson and its partner, Wuhan Iron and Steel (WISCO), do not anticipate any difficulty in funding the project over a 24-month construction period. WISCO has already indicated its interest in acquiring additional off-take from the expansion project.
The economics of the expansion are based on an initial 17-year mine plan, without accounting for potential reserve additions that may be generated from the West extension resources sector of the Bloom Lake mine. Total life-of-mine operating costs are estimated at $31.08/mt of concentrate.
Mineral reserves contained in the detailed Bloom Lake pit design include 463.4 million mt proven and 116.2 million mt probable, for a total combined of 579.6 million mt at a grade of 30% Fe based on a cut-off of 15%. The stripping estimate (including inferred material) is 563.8 million mt, for an overall mine-life stripping ratio of 0.97 mt of waste per mt of ore. The overall pit wall slope angle is planned at 48°, including allowance for the ramp.
The Bloom Lake property, located in Normanville Township, Duplessis County, approximately 400 km north of Sept-Iles, is situated approximately 10 km north of the Mount Wright iron ore mining operation of ArcelorMittal Mines Canada.