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.
Our operations are located within the western portion of the Mesabi Range and are well served by rail, road and utility infrastructure. All major components of infrastructure are in place to deliver the entire 7 MTPA of our expected pellet production output to our off take customers. Our facility has access to rail lines serviced by two Class I rail carriers, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (“BNSF”) and Canadian National Railway (“CN”). All 13 miles of the rail line linking the Project to the BNSF and CN railway systems have been completed. In addition, we have the ability to export to other customers in the future via the Atlantic Ocean by transshipping through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the ocean loading port of Quebec City, which has facilities for Panamax and Capesize vessels.
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 Q2 2015
- Full 7.0 MTPA production capacity to be achieved by Q1 2016
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.