MONTREAL — Idled Quebec iron ore mines, railways and port facilities, are about to be put up for sale as part of a court-supervised exit from eastern Canada by Cliffs Natural Resources.The Cleveland-based miner’s subsidiaries, which filed for creditor protection in January, are seeking a Quebec court’s permission to solicit interest next month in the Bloom Lake mine, the Wabush Mine, and related port and rail assets in Quebec and Labrador, according to a motion filed by monitor FTI Consulting Canada.Bloom Lake General Partner Ltd. and affiliates such as Cliffs Quebec Iron Mining filed for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act amid falling iron ore prices.Excluded from the sale process are Cliffs’ chromite assets in Ontario’s Ring of Fire that are in the process of being sold to Noront Resources for US$20 million.Parties interested in the assets would be required to submit non-binding letters of intent by May 19. Qualified parties would be invited to submit formal bids by an unspecified date, followed by a possible auction.Noront Resources gets prized Ring of Fire assets in deal with Cliffs Natural ResourcesCliffs Natural Resources files for creditor protection for Canadian armThe assets being sold include businesses related to the Bloom Lake mine, Wabush Iron Co. Ltd., Wabush Resources Inc., Arnaud Railway Company, the Wabush Lake Railway Company Ltd., and port facilities in Pointe-Noire, Que.Cliffs has said the court process would buy the owners time to explore restructuring and sale options.It may also protect the company from the US$700 million of closure costs, mainly from three years of obligation to the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railroad owned by a Rio Tinto subsidiary, Iron Ore Company of Canada.Cliffs acquired majority ownership of Bloom Lake — a mine in the iron-rich Labrador Trough that began production in 2010 — as part of its takeover of Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Ltd. in a $4.9-billion deal that closed in 2011.It had produced more than six million tonnes of ore annually.
Filo Mining’s Filo del Sol project outline has been detailed in an independent Technical Report, released on December 18. The epithermal copper-gold-silver deposit is located on the Chile/Argentina border, some 140 km southeast of the city of Copiapó, Chile.The study states that the project is amenable to open pit mining techniques. To determine an appropriatemining approach for this multi-metal, multi-zone deposit, the project team conducted an extensive strategic mine planning exercise. Scenarios, consisting of combinations of processing and mining strategies were assessed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The outcome was to adopt a three-phase open pit that is mined at a rate sufficient to supply 50,000 t/d of feed to multiple heap leach processing facilities (a permanent cyanide leach, a permanent acid leach, and an on/off acid leach). The on/off acid heap leach facility (HLF) will have nine distinct cells. The cells are constructed adjacent to each other in a long row, allowing sequential processing of each cell. The HLF has been sized using an average stacked process feed density of 1.5 t/m and a heap height of 10 m. The heaps will be constructed using conveyor stacking systems. The permanent heap conveyor stacking systems will include the following components:– “Ramp” portable transfer conveyors, each approximately 36 m in length for conveying crushed material up ramps – “Grasshopper” portable transfer conveyors, each approximately 36 m in length for conveying crushed material across relatively flat areas– A 36 m horizontal “Index Feed Conveyor” that transfers crushed material from the grasshopper conveyors to a “Horizontal Feed Conveyor”– A moveable 38 m “Horizontal Index Conveyor” that transfers crushed material to the radial stacker– A 41 m “Radial Stacking Conveyor” capable of powered height adjustment, slewing and stacking to a height of 10 mThe grasshopper and ramp conveyors will transport the crushed material from the stockpile reclaim conveyors for the permanent heaps onto and across the pad to the stacking conveyors. The stacking conveyors allow the radial stacker to place crushed material in 10 m lifts with minimal downtime. The radial stacker and horizontal feed conveyor together are capable of moving while slewing and stacking ore in an arc. The radial stacker can retreat approximately the length of a grasshopper conveyor. Open pit mining is to be conducted with standard mining equipment, including blast hole drills,two 22m3 hydraulic shovels, two 20 m3 front-end loaders, and 20 136 t rear-dump haul trucks – all supported by dozers, graders, water trucks and ancillary equipment. The maximum combined mining rate of waste, process feed, and on-off pad re-handle is 47 Mt per annum. Complete extraction of the mineable resource is to take 13 years, including one year of pre-production mining.