250,000 tonnes of iron ore to sail from North Baffin next summer

Baffinland iron sample approved by NIRB


Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. received approval from the Nunavut Impact Review Board May 7 to extract and ship 250,000 tonnes of iron ore next summer from its Mary River property in North Baffin.

President Gordon McCreary described the approval of the bulk sample as "a major milestone" in a press release.

The Mary River deposit, found south of Pond Inlet, is believed to hold tens of millions of tonnes of high-grade iron ore, worth more than $6 billion. That's enough ore to sustain an open-pit mine for at least 34 years.

This summer, Baffinland plans to move heavy equipment into place at Mary River, to prepare for the bulk sample shipment of ore to steel mills in Europe and the United States the following summer.

The bulk ore sample is to be extracted from two small open-pit mines and transported by road about 100 kilometres to Milne Inlet, where it will be loaded on ships for transport.

The company hopes to begin operations by 2011, at a capital cost of $1.5 billion. Baffinland's startup plans include building a short railway linking the open mine to a deep-sea port. The company hopes to negotiate an Inuit impact and benefits agreement by the end of 2007.

Test results released in April from drilling conducted the previous summer at Mary River confirm the presence of consistent, high-grade iron at the site, according to a company press release. More exploratory drilling is planned this summer.

As well, Baffinland hired new staff in April to work on the Mary River project, including Sean Maloney of Iqaluit, who is the company's new business development officer.

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