Archive | Iron Ore

Steinmetz loses latest battle against Vale over Simandou – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 5, 2021)

Billionaire Beny Steinmetz, the founder and owner of a company embroiled in a long-drawn-out dispute with Vale (NYSE: VALE) over lost rights to the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, has lost his latest battle against the Brazilian miner.

The Rio de Janeiro-based miner said on Monday that local prosecutors had closed an investigation into CEO Eduardo Bartolomeo, and other executives and former directors over alleged illegal practices related to the deal to explore the deposit.

At two billion tonnes of iron ore with some of the highest grades in the industry, Simandou is one of the world’s biggest and richest reserves of the steelmaking material. Continue Reading →

A Nunavut iron ore mine’s expansion exposes unique quandary of Arctic development – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 25, 2021)

The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement was supposed to be a game changer for the Inuit, but a controversial expansion proposal for a mine on Baffin Island exposes the vulnerabilities of the historic pact.

Oakville, Ont.-based Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. plans to double its iron ore production at its Mary River mine, which went into production in 2014.

The company also wants to build a railway that would transport ore from North Baffin to Milne Port, 110 kilometres away. Baffinland says the expansion is crucial to ensuring the mine is profitable over the long run. Continue Reading →

Massive new port could give Vale back iron ore crown – by Bruno Venditti ( – March 18, 2021)

Global production of iron ore products reached 2.2 billion tonnes in 2020 and is expected to reach 2.35 billion tonnes in 2021, according to Fastmarkets.

Despite the covid-19 pandemic, Chinese demand and Brazilian supply constraints have propelled iron ore prices to decade-highs above $175 a tonne this quarter.

Global total exports amounted 1,170 million tonnes in 2020, 9.3% higher than in 2019. Total China imports exceeded 73% of the world total shipped. Continue Reading →

Pond Inlet MLA says territory is ‘muted’ on controversial Nunavut mine expansion – by Beth Brown (CBC News North – February 23, 2021)

The MLA for Pond Inlet is criticizing the Nunavut government for taking a back seat in negotiations for the Mary River mine expansion.

In the legislature Monday, David Qamaniq urged the territory to be more vocal about the expansion that, if approved, would see production double from six to 12 million tonnes a year at the iron ore mine on north Baffin Island.

“My constituents are wondering why the territorial government seems to be able and willing to impose restrictions on caribou hunting in this region to protect the health of the species, but does not seem able or willing to impose restrictions on the mining company to protect our land, water and wildlife,” Qamaniq said during question period. Continue Reading →

Key Inuit organization signals it will oppose Baffinland iron ore mine expansion – by Niall McGee (February 22, 2021)

The regional Inuit organization that represents the Inuit on Baffin Island is signalling it will likely oppose the proposed expansion of the Mary River iron ore mine because of the damage it believes would be wreaked on the environment and on the livelihoods of the Indigenous population.

Privately held Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. has proposed doubling its production at Mary River to 12 million tonnes a year.

The Oakville, Ont.-based miner also wants to build a railroad that would transport ore from its complex in North Baffin to Milne Port, about 100 kilometres away. Baffinland says the expansion is crucial to turn a marginal operation into a profit-making one. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto’s New CEO Looks to Take More Risks – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – February 17, 2021)

SYDNEY—The new chief executive officer of Rio Tinto PLC wants to change a risk-averse culture at the world’s second-largest mining company that could see it pursue commodities vital to the energy transition more aggressively.

Jakob Stausholm said mining companies had become too cautious after overpaying for deals around a decade ago during a rush to feed China with metals and minerals vital to its industrialization, which left them vulnerable to hefty asset write-downs when commodity prices fell.

Facing an investor backlash at the time, companies including Rio Tinto moved to prioritize dividends to shareholders and buying back shares over deals or investments in new mines that could turn sour. Continue Reading →

Nunavut mine says it’s not allowed to harm Inuit harvesting – by Beth Brown (CBC News North – February 17, 2021)

In the wake of last week’s blockade, Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation says it has heard the call to slow down plans to expand production at the Mary River mine.

“It’s unfortunate that they felt they had to go to those extremes to be heard,” said Udloriak Hanson, Baffinland’s vice-president of community and sustainable development, about the protesters who blockaded the mine’s airstrip and trucking road for a week.

Baffinland wants to double the mine’s output from six to 12 million tonnes of iron ore by building a railway and increasing shipping through a narwhal habitat. The protesters say that would damage the environment, and affect their harvesting rights. Continue Reading →

Iron Ore’s Rally Shields BHP From Pain of China Trade Dispute – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – February 16, 2021)

SYDNEY—As ships with its coal remain stranded at sea because of a diplomatic dispute between Australia and China, BHP Group Ltd. showed another side of the trade relationship with its best underlying profit in seven years as it rode a rally in iron-ore prices.

BHP reported a $6.04 billion profit before exceptional items for the six months through December, up 16% compared with a year ago, as China’s big bet on infrastructure spending to drive its economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic stoked demand for iron ore.

The company also declared a record half-year dividend of $1.01 a share. Prices of iron ore, used to make steel, recently surged to a nine-year high of $176.90 a metric ton. Continue Reading →

BHP’s outlook, record dividend fuel supercycle talk – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – February 16, 2021)

BHP (ASX, LON, NYSE: BHP) reinforced talks of a new supercycle on Tuesday by rewarding investors with a record $5.1 billion first-half dividend and forecasting a “very constructive” outlook for the commodities market fundamentals, as the global economy begins to rebound from covid-19.

The world’s largest miner said first-half profit jumped by 16%, hitting a seven-year high, as demand from top metals consumer China helped boosting iron ore prices by 70% in 2020, to a recent nine-year high of $176.90 a tonne.

That is well above the cost of roughly $10 to $20 a tonne most global miners spend in extracting the steel-making commodity, according to estimations. Continue Reading →

Mary River mine blockade highlights Nunavut Agreement’s fatal flaw – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – February 12, 2021)


The land claim agreement empowers Inuit organizations — and disempowers Inuit communities

All of us who care about Nunavut will be relieved that the protesters who occupied the Mary River mine’s airstrip and tote road for most of this past week have decided to end their blockade. Because in doing so, they’ve avoided a potentially ugly confrontation.

The protesters, who call themselves the Nuluujaat Land Guardians, blockaded Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s mine on north Baffin over this past week to oppose its proposed expansion, and to protest the Qikiqtani Inuit Association’s role in the process.

The expansion, which is still before a public hearing, would double the mine’s output and see a 110-kilometre railway combined with up to 176 ship-transits through the environmentally sensitive waters of Eclipse Sound. Continue Reading →

Traditional owners go mining, bypass iron ore giants – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – February 12, 2021)

The newest player in the lucrative Pilbara iron ore industry also happens to be the region’s oldest.

Fed up with mining companies that don’t adequately care for their country and cultural heritage, the traditional owners of Australia’s busiest iron ore mining district are taking matters, and drill rigs, into their own hands.

In a stark illustration of the changing relationship between Australia’s biggest export industry and the nation’s original inhabitants, the Eastern Guruma people have established their own mining company and applied for nine exploration permits within their native title area. Continue Reading →

Inuit hunters’ blockade at Mary River iron ore mine lifted after meeting proposed to discuss concerns – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – February 12, 2021)

A week-long blockade by a small group of Inuit subsistence hunters at the Mary River iron ore mine in Nunavut has been lifted, after protestors received encouraging signs that their concerns about a planned expansion of the mine will be heard.

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. has proposed doubling its production of iron ore at Mary River to 12 million tonnes a year. The privately held miner also wants to build a railroad that would transport ore from its complex in North Baffin to Milne Port, about 100 kilometres away.

On the evening of Feb. 4, a group of hunters set up blockades at an airstrip and supply road at the mine in Baffin Island. The hunters said they were concerned that a bigger operation at Mary River could decimate the marine mammal population, which they depend upon for food. Continue Reading →

Baffinland seeks court injunction to permanently end Inuit blockade at Nunavut mine – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – February 11, 2021)

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. is seeking a court injunction to permanently end an almost week-long blockade by Inuit subsistence hunters that has caused havoc at its Mary River iron ore mine in Nunavut.

Last Thursday, a group of hunters set up blockades at an airstrip and supply road at the mine, saying their concerns about a planned expansion of the facility haven’t been heard. They fear an expansion would hurt the environment and their livelihoods.

Oakville, Ont.-based Baffinland said the blockades are preventing employees from leaving the mine, and stopping key supplies, such as food and medicine, from getting in. Continue Reading →

Inuit hunters blockade iron mine in freezing temperatures over expansion – by Leyland Cecco (The Guardian – February 9, 2021)

Standoff exposes tensions between large Inuit organizations with power to approve permits and residents of small communities

A group of Inuit hunters have braved nearly a week of freezing temperatures to blockade a remote iron mine in northern Canada, in protest over an expansion plan they say will harm local wildlife.

The blockade, which has prompted solidarity rallies in other Nunavut communities, has also exposed growing tensions between large Inuit organizations with the power to approve development permits – and residents of the small communities where the impact of such projects is felt.

Since 5 February, seven hunters have created a makeshift barrier of snowmobiles and sleds to block the airstrip and service road of the Mary River ore mine, halting operations. Temperatures in recent days have dipped to the low -30sC. Continue Reading →

Mary River mine needs a railway to survive, new economic report says – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – February 8, 2021)


Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s Mary River mine is unlikely to survive without a railway to carry greater quantities of ore to Milne Inlet, says a report commissioned by the company.

The report, titled Mary River Project Economics Explained, was submitted to the Nunavut Impact Review Board this month during its public hearing on Baffinland’s expansion proposal for the Mary River mine, which adjourned Feb. 6 and is to resume in March.

The company filed the economic report in response to an earlier economic analysis done for the Oceans North conservation group by a firm called OpenOil, which said Baffinland’s existing truck route is capable of making a profit for the company. Continue Reading →