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Posts tagged ‘Champion Iron Mines Ltd (CHM)’

Quebec Liberals revive Plan Nord infrastructure and development program

June 6th, 2014

by Greg Klein | June 6, 2014

Downplayed if not dismissed by the previous Parti Quebecois government, Quebec’s Plan Nord is back “in an enhanced version,” the province’s new Liberal government says. Its 2014-2015 budget includes a number of funded initiatives to encourage infrastructure and resource development north of the 49th parallel, making natural resources “the centrepiece of Quebec’s economic development.”

Quebec Liberals revive Plan Nord infrastructure and development program

Some spending highlights released June 4 include major road work, a feasibility study on a Labrador Trough rail line, government investment in mining and oil and gas companies, and training for northern residents.

A Northern Plan Fund commits $63 million during 2014-2015 for projects like “major work on road infrastructure in the Plan Nord territory, including the extension of Highway 138 and the repair of Highway 389 in the Côte-Nord region and the James Bay Highway.”

The government also plans to study the feasibility of a new rail line to the Labrador Trough. Media accounts put the price tag at a maximum of $20 million.

Finance Minister Carlos Leitao confirmed his government’s “intention to acquire equity interests in companies in the mining and oil and gas sectors, so that Quebec society can obtain, as a shareholder, a direct share in the profits.”

Plan Nord will encourage smaller, local hydroelectric projects while spending $1.1 billion on a fourth transmission line from the north to serve the northern Montreal “agglomeration.”

Education and training for northern residents will get a $100-million boost, the Liberals stated.

But the previous government’s controversial tax regimen stays put—for the sake of stability, Leitao claimed. Acknowledging that the taxes contributed to declining investment, he stated, “We will restore industry and investor confidence by ensuring the application rules are favourable, stable and foreseeable. We are maintaining the existing mining tax regime in order to preserve that stability.”

The government will support small mining companies and Quebec ownership, Leitao added.

To co-ordinate development in consultation with stakeholders, the government will create a new agency, la Société du Plan Nord.

Champion Iron TSX:CIA welcomed the railway feasibility study, even calling it “a defining point in the history of the mining industry in Quebec.” The company’s June 6 news release stated the global steel industry recognizes the Labrador Trough’s potential “to supply high-quality iron ore product, with a range of listed and private iron ore groups active in the region including Champion Iron.”

The company credits the Trough with “one of the world’s largest iron ore accumulations, with annual production of some 50 million tonnes.”

In February 2013 CN TSX:CNR suspended its feasibility study, undertaken in partnership with pension/insurance fund manager la Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and a group of mining companies.

Two railways now connect the region with the St. Lawrence River deep-sea port of Sept-Iles. The 420-kilometre Cartier Railway, a subsidiary of ArcelorMittal NYE:MT, serves the company’s Mont-Wright operation. The 418-kilometre Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway links operations of the Iron Ore Company of Canada (held 59% by Rio Tinto NYE:RIO) in Labrador City, on the Trough’s Newfoundland side. The QNS&L is obligated to carry other cargo, making it the region’s only rail accessible to third parties.

Frontier prudence

July 2nd, 2013

Champion Iron Mines steps back from its Labrador Trough rail proposal

by Greg Klein

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Another transportation setback has highlighted the challenges of reaching Canada’s resource-rich hinterlands. Champion Iron Mines TSX:CHM announced July 2 it had terminated an agreement to use facilities at the deep-sea port of Sept-Iles, Quebec. The decision saved the company a $25.6-million payment due to the port by July 1. But it places further uncertainty on transportation proposals to the Labrador Trough straddling northern Quebec and Labrador. The news followed a June 12 announcement that Cliffs Natural Resources was suspending its Ontario chromite project and, along with it, a province-backed road proposal for the Ring of Fire. In February CN TSX:CNR stated it had suspended its feasibility study on an estimated $5-billion, 800-kilometre Quebec rail line to the Trough.

Champion attributed its decision to a failure to gain private and public backing for a new railway. Estimated at $1.33 billion in the company’s February pre-feasibility report for the Consolidated Fire Lake North iron ore project, the 310-kilometre line would connect the southern Trough with Sept-Isles, on the St. Lawrence River’s north shore. The company studied the project despite the fact that Champion had already signed a collaboration framework agreement backing CN’s proposal.

Champion Iron Mines steps back from its Labrador Trough rail proposal

One of two existing railways in the Trough, the Quebec North Shore
and Labrador line runs a 418-kilometre route between
Labrador City and Sept-Isles.

Champion reverted to Plan A following CN’s February decision. Discussions resumed with private and public interests to finance, build and operate a multi-user railway. But they failed to make progress by the July 1 payment deadline.

Of course market conditions played their role. Iron ore prices have been falling since a February high of about $154 per dry metric tonne. The following month the Melbourne Herald Sun reported that Rio Tinto chief economist Vivek Tulpule expected prices to fall to nearly $100 by September 2014. On June 24, however, Platts quoted Macquarie bank analysts who spoke of a potential recovery later this year. A July 2 report from China’s Xinhua news service stated, “Although there might be fluctuations, prices of iron ore imports will see a falling trend in the longer term.”

“The past year has been a very challenging period for iron ore developers,” conceded Champion president/CEO Tom Larsen in his July 2 statement. But he emphasized the company remains committed to its flagship and to “securing transportation and port-handling services that will permit the company to place among the lowest-cost iron producers in the Labrador Trough.”

Even without Champion’s proposed railway, the region benefits from mines, plants, power and two existing rail lines. The Iron Ore Company of Canada owns and operates the Quebec North Shore and Labrador route, which connects its Labrador City facility in the southern Trough to Sept-Isles, 418 kilometres away. As a common carrier, the QNSL is required to ship other companies’ goods as well.

An ArcelorMittal subsidiary runs a private carrier called the Cartier Railway from the company’s Mont-Wright operation, 40 kilometres southwest of Labrador City, to Sept-Isles.

Iron ore prices notwithstanding, Asian investment in the Trough has continued. Chinese companies are said to be looking at Rio’s 58.7% interest in the Iron Ore Company of Canada, of which Mitsubishi holds another 26.2%. The Anglo-Australian giant reportedly wants to sell its stake for up to $4 billion.

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Labrador Trough derailed

February 12th, 2013

CN suspends feasibility for rail link to Quebec/Labrador iron ore range

by Greg Klein

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The Labrador Trough might hold some of the world’s largest undeveloped iron ore resources. But is the market ready? That’s a question some people are asking as CN TSX:CNR shelves a feasibility study to build what might have been a $5-billion, 800-kilometre rail line to the isolated Quebec/Labrador iron ore range.

CN formally announced the decision February 12, citing “current market realities.” The rail giant added that “mine construction schedules and diverging needs for each specific individual project will make it difficult to obtain the critical volumes of iron ore necessary.” Also a factor was “the decision by some miners in the region not to join the group of mining companies supporting the CN infrastructure project.” The study was originally scheduled for release in May.

CN suspends feasibility for link to Quebec/Labrador iron ore range

This Adriana Resources map shows the company’s Lac Otelnuk project,
the Labrador Trough and two existing railways, Cartier to the west and
QNS&L to the east. The latter route now terminates at Labrador City,
not Schefferville.

It began last August under a partnership of the continental railway, pension/insurance fund manager Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec and a group of mining companies.

In separate February 12 announcements, two of those companies announced they were unaffected by the suspension. Referring to its Taconite project straddling the Quebec/Labrador border, New Millennium Iron TSX:NML stated the “base case for product transportation is through a ferroduct and does not depend on a new rail line.”

The project’s KeMag deposit pre-feas suggests pumping concentrate along a 700-kilometre slurry ferroduct to the St. Lawrence port of Sept-Iles. “Slurry transportation is being used in many iron ore projects located in Brazil, India and Australia because of its low-cost advantage compared to rail transportation,” the company states. “This has the potential to make KeMag the lowest-cost pellet producer in North America.”

Another CN partner, Alderon Iron Ore TSX:ADV stated its Kami project “feasibility study capital and operating cost projections are based on using the [Quebec North Shore and Labrador] Railway.”

The region also has a second, private rail line operated by the Cartier Railway Company, a subsidiary of ArcelorMittal. The 420-kilometre route connects the company’s Mont-Wright operation with Sept-Iles.

The 415-kilometre QNS&L Railway links Labrador City with Sept-Iles. Although it’s owned by the Iron Ore Company of Canada (itself owned 58.7% by Rio Tinto and 26.2% by Mitsubishi), Alderon president/CEO Tayfun Eldem emphasized that the QNS&L is “a common carrier that operates with the legal obligation to accommodate third-party traffic. It currently has ample surplus capacity and runs within 15 kilometres of the Kami property.”

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Champion, Fancamp report Quebec Iron Assays up to 35.25% over 216m

April 17th, 2012

Resource Clips - essential news on junior gold mining and junior silver miningChampion Minerals Inc TSX:CHM in joint venture with Fancamp Exploration Ltd TSXV:FNC announced results from the Oil Can, O’Keefe-Purdy, Bellechasse and Midway Projects in the Fermont Iron District of Quebec. Assays include

26.89% iron over 246.8 metres
31.23% over 154.2 metres
28.37% over 111.4 metres
35.25% over 216 metres
31.77% over 234.4 metres
27.6% over 313 metres
27.83% over 204.9 metres

Champion has an 82.5% interest in the Fermont holdings and is the operator, Fancamp holds the remaining 17.5%.

View Company Profile

Champion Minerals Inc
Thomas G. Larsen

or Fancamp Exploration Ltd
Peter H. Smith

by Ted Niles

Champion reports Quebec Results up to 33.7% Iron over 545.7m

December 13th, 2011

Resource Clips - essential news on junior gold mining and junior silver miningChampion Minerals Inc TSX:CHM announced assays from its Oil Can Project in the Fermont Iron Ore District of Quebec. Results include

33.7% iron over 545.7 metres
34.7% over 303.4 metres
26.8% over 197.2 metres

President/CEO Tom Larsen commented, “The Oil Can Project is shaping up to be a significant satellite asset to our Fire Lake North Project, with results indicating the potential for a large iron resource. We foresee the Oil Can Project potentially providing supplemental ore feed to a process plant at our Fire Lake North Project. Clearly the projects would benefit from key operating synergies, such as rail transport and port infrastructure. Champion remains focused on developing the Fire Lake North Project and continues to systematically delineate complementary resources on its nearby projects. Our NI 43-101-compliant iron ore resources, which currently exceed 2.2 billion tonnes, are expected to grow significantly in the coming months and will place the company’s iron holdings among the top deposits in the Labrador Trough.”

View Company Profile

Thomas G. Larsen
or Jorge Estepa
or Salisha Hosein
IR Director

by Greg Klein