Baffinland sets new iron ore shipping record this year
Company ships 5.1 million tonnes to Europe, the U.K, Taiwan, Japan
After receiving regulatory permission to do so, the Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. shipped a record-breaking 5.1 million tonnes of iron ore from the Mary River mine this year, the company said last week in a news release.
Ore-carrying vessels contracted by Baffinland made 71 voyages between July 24 and Oct. 17, carrying Mary River’s high-grade iron ore to markets in continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Taiwan and Japan.
And the company’s carriers also did two transits to Asia through the Northern Sea Route, or “northeast passage,” a route running through Arctic waters north of Russia that connects northern Europe and northern Asia.
Over the 86-day 2018 shipping season, each of the 71 voyages averaged 71,750 tonnes of ore, the company said.
Mary River contains some of the purest iron ore deposits in the world, at an average grade of 64 per cent.
Baffinland’s previous shipping record was 4.1 million tonnes, just shy of the legal limit of 4.2 million tonnes that regulators imposed as part of the “early revenue phase” of the Mary River mine’s development.
“Along with our employees, I want to thank all of our partners involved in making this program a success. This includes our shipping partners and the continued support of the North Baffin communities and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association,” Baffinland boss Brian Penney said in a news release.
Earlier this fall, the federal government allowed the company to raise its annual level of ore production to six million tonnes a year for 2018 and 2019.
In doing so, they overturned a recommendation from the Nunavut Impact Review Board that denied Baffinland’s request to do that.
The Qikiqtani Inuit Association, which sided with Baffinland on the issue, played a key role in influencing Ottawa’s decision.
Meanwhile, the NIRB has just started work on a much bigger expansion request from Baffinland: a proposal to build a railway to Milne Inlet from Mary River and to increase production to 12 million tonnes a year.
After later construction of a railway south to Steensby Inlet, annual production at Mary River could hit 30 million tonnes a year, the company said in its expansion proposal to regulators.