The premier of Quebec, Jean Charest (pictured), launched Plan Nord, a $80 billion development plan in May 2011.
The aim of the ambitious program is to boost mining investment through the provision of infrastructure in the northern part of the semi-autonomous Canadian province.
A job fair for the initiative which has a 25-year life was held over the weekend and apart from protests, it also attracted about 100 companies looking for workers on a number of new public-private projects in the region.
The $2.1 billion expansion of ArcelorMittal's Mont-Wright iron ore mine to double capacity is the largest project under Plan Nord.
Canadian Mining Journal takes a look at the new construction which apart from mine expansion includes a new pellet plant and railway infrastructure and says "when planning an expansion at the largest open pit mine in Quebec, thinking big is important:"
As if the $2.1-billion cost of expanding the Mont-Wright mine and related facilities weren’t enough, through 2039 the company is also committed to spending $800 million for operating capital as well as $7.8 billion for salaries, supplies and contractors.
The province can expect to receive $1.3 billion in income taxes and $1.8 billion in mining rights revenues from an expanded Mont-Wright operation.
The pace of the Mont-Wright expansion project will be breakneck. ArcelorMittal intends to complete the job in 2014. The company is to be commended for making Quebec an important part of its plans to become a 100-million-t/y iron producer.
ArcelorMittal is not the only company investing heavily in Quebec.
La Presse reports Cliff Natural Resources, which bought Consolidated Thompson for $4.9 billion last year, is also planning to double production of iron ore from its Bloom Lake mine, located in the same area as Mount Wright. Cliff's project calls for a $1.3 billion investment, including $600 million to be spent this year.
Canada, including Quebec, attracted some $10 billion worth of investment in iron mining last year: expansion of IOC's Carol Lake also in the same vicinity as Mount Wright which have been producing since the early sixties, a project at Roche Bay in Nunavut with Chinese backing and various exploration and development projects from Century Iron Mines and others.