Iron ore production to restart next year in Labrador mining town of Wabush
By Holly McKenzie-SutterIndustry Mining & Resources
WABUSH, N.L. – The Labrador town of Wabush is in for a much-needed economic boost as one of Canada’s largest iron ore mines restarts production next year.
Premier Dwight Ball travelled to Wabush Tuesday to announce the official reopening of the Scully mine, with hiring for 260 new jobs to begin over the next few weeks.
“The work starts today, the hiring process starts today,” Ball said. “The restart of the Scully mine is a major accomplishment for the mining industry in our province.”
Ball spoke to the mining industry’s importance as a lifeline for rural Labrador communities like Wabush, referencing the expected positive economic effect an active mine will have on other local businesses.
Hundreds of people lost their jobs when Cliffs Natural Resources closed the Scully mine in 2014 after almost 50 years in operation.
At the time, Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. blamed rising costs and falling commodity prices for the closure.
Minnesota-based Tacora Resources Inc. bought the mine and its assets in July 2017.
Ball said the reopened mine would see an estimated production rate of approximately six million tonnes of concentrate per year.
Tacora CEO Larry Lehtinen said production is expected to begin in June 2019.
Lehtinen said 100 per cent of the mine’s iron ore product is already sold for the next 15 years thanks to an extended agreement with exporter Cargill Ltd.
Lehtinen estimated an operating life of at least 25 years, and expressed hope the mine would remain productive for even longer.
“We imagine the Scully mine to be operating successfully for decades to come and we’re really excited about it,” Lehtinen said Tuesday.
Tacora has also entered an impacts and benefits agreement with the Innu Nation that prioritizes employment and business contracts for members.
Wabush mayor Ronald Barron said the announcement marks a “great day” for the community, saying he always remained optimistic about the mine’s future during the difficult years following its closure.
“There’s ore in the ground, it only makes sense to get it out,” Barron said. “This mine is going to bring not just life back to Wabush but to Labrador West.”