Baffinland Iron Mines scales back massive Mary River railway development to just road haulage

Due to risk averse financial markets, an ambitious $4-billion rail and port program envisaged by Baffinland Iron Mines to ship 18 million tonnes of iron ore annually has been dropped, so the company can pursue a much more modest road haulage program that will ship just 3.5 million tonnes per year.

The announcement came in a letter on Thursday to the Nunavut Impact Review Board from Baffinland, a company which is owned 50% by ArcelorMittal and 50% by Iron Ore Holdings LP.

"In the current global financial environment the large development capital cost for the Mary River Project is difficult to finance," wrote the company.

"This same effect is being felt by many major projects around the world. Additionally, the risks associated with large capital developments are magnified during tight financial markets."

The company says a rail program is still in cards, but no date was given when the company will proceed.

Mary River is one of the world's richest and largest iron ore deposits containing approximately 365 million tonnes of high-grade ore. The Mary River Project, located on Baffin Island, Nunavut. Markets are European steel mills.

The ambitious Mary River project was animated in the company's corporate demonstration.