Champion Iron Ltd says it has completed the first rail shipments containing 24,304 wet metric tonnes of high-grade 66.2% Fe iron ore concentrate from the Phase II expansion project at the Bloom Lake Mine in Quebec, Canada.
The commissioning of Phase II was achieved ahead of schedule and the company is working to gradually increase the mine and plant’s capacity towards commercial production, which is anticipated to occur by the end of 2022.
Champion’s CEO, David Cataford, said: “Today we celebrate the culmination of our collective efforts as the Phase II expansion project comes to life. The Phase II project is expected to be in operation for decades and will provide the Québec Côte-Nord region with over 400 additional permanent high-quality jobs.
“Completing the project ahead of schedule, while facing the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, is a testament to the agility and operational excellence of our employees and partners. With our high-purity iron-ore products contributing towards emission reductions in the global steel industry, I am excited by the potential of the several organic growth projects we are currently evaluating.”
On June 20, 2019, the company announced the positive results of the Phase II Feasibility Study, which envisioned Bloom Lake increasing its overall capacity from 7.4 Mt/y to 15 Mt/y of 66.2% Fe iron ore concentrate. The study proposed to complete the construction of the Phase II concentrator plant, which was partially built by the mine’s former owner, and an optimised mine plan to accelerate the supply of ore to the expanded facilities while maintaining a life of mine of 20 years. The study evaluated a total pre-production capital expenditures of C$633.8 million ($494 million) including deposits. The base case economic assumption used a conservative blended average gross realized price at 66.2% Fe CFR China of $84.1/t for the life of mine, resulting in strong economics, including an after tax net present value discounted at 8% and internal rate of return of C$955.7 million and 33.4%, respectively.
Based on the study’s findings, the company obtained the Board of Directors’ requisite approvals and procured the necessary financing to complete the Phase II project.
As of March 31, 2022, cumulative investments of C$625.2 million, including deposits, were deployed on the project.