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A concept drawing of what the Wabush 3 mine will look like.
©Courtesy of IOC
The Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) expects to announce the successful bidder on the contract for the new Wabush 3 open pit mine by the end of March.
The project was put to tender in 2016, to prepare for approval by IOC's board of directors. A contractor was selected but the contract award was put on hold when the development of Wabush 3 was deferred.
"IOC has since recommenced negotiations with the selected contractor and expects to finalize a purchase order by the end of March 2017," said Heather Bruce-Veitch, director of communications and external relations for IOC.
The work is expected to take 18 months to complete, and should start later this spring.
Bruce-Veitch says there will be a combined workforce made up of contractors , sub contractors and workers from IOC's labour force.
"It's anticipated that 70 full time equivalent jobs will be created during the construction phase," she told TC.
In a region that has seen the closure of Wabush mines, and the mine in nearby Bloom Lake, Quebec, the news of the project is very welcome. The downturn in the area affected not only direct employees of the mine but the contractors and service industry as well.
When asked if local people would be given preference for jobs, Bruce-Veitch provided the following statement.
"Under the pending IOC Benefits Plan and Gender Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Plan with the Government of NL; IOC is committed to providing residents and provincial suppliers full and fair opportunity and first consideration for employment and procurement opportunities in relation to the Construction Phase and Operations Phase of the Wabush 3 Open Pit Mine Project and requires that contractors and sub-contractors provide full and fair opportunity for procurement opportunities to Provincial Suppliers; and, first consideration for employment to qualified Residents, on the basis of Labrador residents receiving first priority and the residents of the rest of the Province receiving next priority."
Work to be done will include development of the Wabush 3 open pit, as well as surface drainage management, electrical infrastructure, ground water dewatering, a fish offset program and environmental monitoring.
The project will also mean changes for Smokey Mountain ski hill and the Menihek Nordic ski trails.
Bruce-Veitch says, "IOC will be constructing three new lifts, and redesigning the hill so people can continue to enjoy downhill skiing on wonderful terrain. We will also construct a new section of trail for Menihek so enthusiasts of that sport will continue to enjoy world class skiing."
Additional sub contracts are also expected to go to tender shortly. After past delays, news of the project will extend the life of the mine.
“When the EIS was submitted to the NL government, it Indicated that the completion of the Wabush 3 pit will extend IOC’s mining activities at Labrador City to 2079," said Bruce-Veitch.
It will increase production to 23 million tonnes annually , welcome news for people living in Labrador City and Wabush , who are hoping this is the beginning of better times ahead for the mining industry.