The expansion of the Bloom Lake iron-ore mine, in Quebec, is rapidly progressing, at a time when demand for the high-grade iron-ore is strong.
More than 200 employees, consultants and subcontractors are currently working on the project, which will double the mine’s nameplate capacity to 15-million tonnes a year of 66.2% iron-ore concentrate.
The Bloom Lake Phase 2 project, approved in November 2020, remained on track for completion by mid-2022, CEO David Cataford reported on Wednesday.
Construction work would be at its peak from now until October.
“We are building on the market’s robust appetite for our high-grade iron-ore concentrate with our growth projects,” Cataford said, noting that besides the Bloom Lake expansion, the company was also considering its options regarding the newly acquired Kami project.
Champion believes that the structural shift under way in the steel industry to an increased focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the iron and steelmaking process will bode well for higher grade raw materials. It also means a shift towards reduction technologies used to produce liquid iron, such as the use of direct current (DR) in electric arc furnaces (EAFs), instead of the blast furnaces.
Accordingly, the company is doing research and developing on technologies and products to support the transition to the DR-EAF method, while supporting emission reduction in the blast furnace process.
“Given the high-quality nature of the iron-ore concentrate produced at the Bloom Lake mining complex, the company believes it can become a key player in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the steelmaking process,” it stated.
Champion has demonstrated, at laboratory scale, its ability to upgrade its current iron-ore concentrate product to more than 69% iron using a flotation process.
The programme has also focused on optimising DR quality iron-ore concentrate production at an average of 67.7% iron and developing of a cold pelletising technology.
Meanwhile, Champion on Wednesday reported its financial results for the year ended March. The Bloom Lake mine’s production remained unchanged at 8-million wet metric tonnes of iron-ore concentrate at 66.4% iron in the 12 months. Revenue soared 63% to $1.28-billion, while net income surged 284% to $464.42-million.