Facing hurdles in France, Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal today got a green signal from Canada for its multi-billion dollar project to develop one of the world’s largest iron-ore mines in the Baffin Island in the Arctic.
The local Nunavut Impact Review Board gave its final clearance to the project under which the ArcelorMittal-led consortium will begin construction of the new iron-mine close to Arctic, CBC reported.
ArcelorMittal acquired the Mary River deposit in the Canadian Arctic last year in a $567.61-million deal as part of its new thrust to reach its long-term goal of nearly doubling its iron ore production, reducing dependence on miners such as Vale SA, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. ArcelorMittal will hold 70% in the Arctic venture with the rest to be shared by Australia’s Iron Ore Holdings LP.
The 17,000-hectare mine and associated infrastructure, including a port and railway, is expected to cost between C$4-5 billion, with first production about five years after construction starts. CBC said the Canadian board’s decision was the culmination of a four-year assessment of the project, in which Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation plans to build a massive open-pit mine at its Mary River site about 160 kilometres south of Pond Inlet, Nunavut, along with a railway and port that would allow icebreakers to ship the ore through Arctic waters year-round.