Minnesota Taconite Operation
State-of-the-art open pit mine and greenfield pellet plant project located on the Mesabi Range in Minnesota, acquired in October 2007.
Minnesota is a jurisdiction with a long history of successful mineral development and operations. The mining of iron ore in the Mesabi Range has taken place since 1866 and it is considered a desirable jurisdiction in which to conduct mining operations due to stable political, tax and regulatory policies. The state of Minnesota has several budgetary mandates / commitments to develop Project-related infrastructure, including construction of electrical, natural gas and water infrastructure, connectivity to rail networks, approach roads to the Project site and public infrastructure facilities.
The Project is located close to existing infrastructure including a robust electrical grid with multiple 230 KV feed lines that sit approximately 8.0 miles from the Project and a major gas pipeline grid that is approximately 3.5 miles away. The Project has train service capabilities providing access to two class 1 carriers, the BNSF Railway, and the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway, operated by CN, which will provide direct rail options to serve U.S. based customers. Rail access also connects the Project to Duluth Superior and Two Harbor iron ore loading ports which are located 80 miles from the Project. Duluth Superior provides connection to the St. Lawrence seaway allowing for access to the ocean loading port of Montreal, Quebec, Sept Isles
The Project is located over an area of approximately 19,000 acres, of which 4,360 acres are mineral lease land, strategically located with completed infrastructure for iron ore operations and export.
Environmental permits have been received for construction and operations of up to capacity of 7.0 MTPA
Schedule for 7 MTPA iron ore pellet production under construction:
- Initial commissioning to begin in Q4 2014
- Full 7.0 MTPA production capacity to be achieved by Q3 2015
The project involves the construction and commissioning of an iron ore pellet plant with a total production capacity of 7.0 MTPA of iron ore pellets.
The nature and scope of the mine allows for less capital equipment to be employed in mining operations, which is expected to reduce operating costs. The short haulage distance from the mine to the coarse crusher also provides significant operational cost-savings. The plant will feature a two-stage crushing circuit, which will increase mill throughput, as compared to a single mill operation. Moreover, transporting the slurry via pipeline will provide the Company with substantial cost savings over rail and road transportation. The Project site will also have a slurry storage capacity of 60,000 tons, which is intended to reduce process interruptions.