Baffinland Iron Mines has won the go-ahead from the regulator to proceed with a considerably scaled down version of its proposed iron mine on North Baffin Island.
Originally Baffinland had contemplated a $6B project with a railway taking 18 million tonnes/annum ore to the south. The project was scaled back to a $750M project trucking 3.5M tonnes ore to the North. In addition, ore will only be loaded on ships during the (short) shipping season, rather than all year round as first envisioned. The Mary River Property is one of the largest and richest undeveloped iron ore projects in the world. Construction of the site commenced in Q2 of 2013 with mining of iron ore scheduled to begin as early as Q3 2014, and first shipment of iron ore expected during the open water season of 2015.
Arcelor Mittal, whose credit rating was downgraded this past December by the Moody’s agency, has been selling off assets and issuing new bond offerings in an attempt to reduce its debt-load. Also in December, Mittal transferred 20 per cent of its stake in Baffinland to Iron Ore Holdings, giving each company 50 per cent ownership.
Meanwhile, Advanced Explorations Inc., the company that’s been working on developing the Roche Bay iron ore project near Hall Beach, Nunavut, is forming a joint venture with a Chinese private wealth fund.
The new subsidiary corporation will be called Savik Iron Mines. Advanced Explorations describes its Roche Bay and Tuktu iron ore projects on the Melville Peninsula as of one of the world’s largest developing iron ore districts.
It seems as though Baffinland’s Mary River project is going to proceed, albeit at a diminished scale from the original plan.