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Posts tagged ‘Champion Iron Ltd (CIA)’

Champion Iron begins financing on signing $53.3-million deal to buy Bloom Lake

December 11th, 2015

by Greg Klein | December 11, 2015

Obviously betting on better times ahead, Champion Iron TSX:CIA announced a definitive agreement December 11 to buy the Labrador Trough property abandoned by Cliffs Natural Resources NYE:CLF. Still subject to court approval, Champion subsidiary Quebec Iron Ore would get the assets for $10.5 million, around $41.7 million in environmental costs and about $1.1 million in bond obligations. Now all the company has to do is raise the money.

Champion’s bid was approved last spring by a court-appointed monitor of Cliffs affiliates now under bankruptcy proceedings. Champion expects to close in Q1 2016.

Bloom Lake is considered an exceptional opportunity for Champion and one that would not have presented itself without the challenges of the current downturn in bulk commodities.—Michael O’Keeffe, CEO/chairperson of Champion Iron

To help fund the deal, the company also announced a private placement of up to $25 million. Commitments totalling up to $15 million have already come in from two parties, one of them controlled by Champion CEO/chairperson Michael O’Keeffe, who could end up with as much as 19.95% of the company. “Additionally, discussions with strategic partners, funds, government agencies and private investors are at an advanced stage” that might help finance up to two years of care and maintenance “should low iron ore prices prevail during this period,” Champion stated.

Champion sees a potential increase in annual maximum production, previously six million tons of iron fines at 66% iron, to over seven million tons at a similar grade. The company also hopes to reduce costs substantially.

In November last year Cliffs estimated another $1.2 billion would be needed to make Bloom Lake viable. But Champion’s announcement stated, “Even with an extended care and maintenance and planned upgrade period, Bloom Lake could potentially become one of the lowest capital cost iron ore mines in the world.”

Quebec’s Plan Nord fund has put up $20 million to study the feasibility of a new rail line linking the Bloom Lake-Fire Lake region with the St. Lawrence deep-water port of Sept-Iles. Two railways already serve the Trough, one of them a private carrier operated by an ArcelorMittal subsidiary.

Last May Quebec economy minister Jacques Daoust said the province was open to the idea of investing in Cliff’s former Bloom Lake assets. The company’s subsidiary suspended operations late last year before entering creditor protection in January.

In April Cliffs sold its Ring of Fire chromite deposits to Noront Resources TSXV:NOT for US$27.5 million.

Plan Nord progresses as companies team up with Quebec on rail feasibility

October 21st, 2014

by Greg Klein | October 21, 2014

A feasibility study into a third Quebec railway to the Labrador Trough is back on track, according to October 21 announcements from Champion Iron TSX:CIA and Adriana Resources TSXV:ADI. The companies have joined the Quebec government in a new entity called la Société ferroviaire du Nord québécois, société en commandite (SFNQ) to oversee the technical and economic report.

Champion Iron, Adriana Resources team up with Quebec on railway feasibility

The news follows a bill tabled by the provincial Liberals on September 30 to revive Plan Nord, the massive infrastructure program that had been sidelined by the former Parti Quebecois government. The province now intends to create la Société du Plan Nord to co-ordinate development beyond the 49th Parallel, with $63 million budgeted for this year and up to $2 billion by 2035. The bill allocates a $50-million investment in Gaz Métro LNG to expand production and storage of liquefied natural gas, which would be trucked to Stornoway Diamond’s (TSX:SWY) Renard mine, scheduled to open in 2016. LNG transport to other projects would follow.

Quebec will provide up to $20 million for the feasibility. But the companies’ contributions are less clear. Adriana’s late afternoon announcement didn’t specify a contribution. The company takes part through its Lac Otelnuk joint venture, held 40% by Adriana and 60% by Hong Kong-based WISCO International Resources Development & Investment. Champion listed its share as sunk costs valued up to $6 million. That company takes part through its now wholly owned subsidiary, Champion Iron Mines Ltd.

As a separate company in 2013, Champion Iron Mines failed to find private and public backers for a 310-kilometre rail connection between the southern Trough and the deep sea port of Sept-Iles that was expected to cost $1.33 billion. Earlier that year CN TSX:CNR suspended its feasibility study on an estimated $5-billion, 800-kilometre link to the same port.

Currently two railways connect Sept-Iles with the resource-rich region straddling the Labrador border. The Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway runs a 415-kilometre route to Labrador City. A private line operated by an ArcelorMittal subsidiary serves its Mont-Wright operation.

Other companies have been invited to take part in the feasibility study, which would envision a common carrier.

Among noteworthy aspects of Plan Nord is the government’s confidence that future commodity markets will justify large-scale investment—and that Quebec sometimes prefers to invest in, rather than subsidize, industry. Apart from Gaz Métro, the government’s Investissement Québec unit sees opportunities in a number of ventures including Stornoway, in which the province is acquiring an approximately 29% stake.