A large iron-ore deposit near Sioux Lookout that’s been known for decades is about to undergo a significant fine-tuning, possibly leading to an operating mine as early as four years from now.
Thunder Bay-based Rockex Mining Corp. said Thursday it’s on the cusp of securing $30 million from a New York investment firm to conduct a feasibility study and environment assessment on the property located about 100 kilometres northeast of Sioux Lookout.
The financing from Diversified Innovative Marketing Enterprises (DIME) is expected to be firmed up by April 11, said a Rockex news release.
If the Lake St. Joseph deposit is deemed to be economically viable, it could support an operation for 30 years, creating a combined total of 700 mine-site and processing plant jobs.
“This would really help us with our economy,” said Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance, who has known about the deposit for several years.
Under the project plan, the operation would annually produce 4.3 million tonnes of hot briquetted iron (HBI) — “a cleaner, higher quality, finished iron product for the steel industry.”
The mine could go into production by late 2019 or early 2020, said Rockex, which acquired the property in 2008 after it had been thoroughly explored by other companies.
The cost of building the mine and processing plant has been pegged at just under $3.8 billion. That amount is also to be financed by the DIME investment firm, which would have a 40 per cent share in the operation.
By contrast, Noront Resources has put the cost of building its proposed nickel mine in the Ring of Fire at $700 million.
Iron-ore concentrate from the proposed Rockex project would be transported 100 km by pipe from the mine site to a processing plant near Sioux Lookout. The end HBI product would be railed out on CN Rail’s main line.
The size of the financing being bandied about for the project comes as prices for a variety of metals are low, and the mining industry as a whole remains in a trough.
Rockex corporate affairs vice-president Tammy Lehtinen, who is based in Thunder Bay, said the company wants to have the project in production by the time prices rebound.
For the original source of this article, click here: http://www.chroniclejournal.com/news/local/mine-idea-explored/article_9b67ba8c-d152-11e5-930f-4753d62cb43d.html