The Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) is a leading Canadian producer of iron ore concentrate and iron ore pellets that serves customers worldwide. The company operates a mine, a concentrator and a pelletising plant in Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as port facilities in Sept-Îles, Quebec. It also operates a 418 kilometre railroad that links the mine to the port.
Managed by the Rio Tinto Iron Ore group, IOC is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (58.7 per cent), Mitsubishi (26.2 per cent) and the Labrador Iron Ore Royalty Income Corporation (15.1 per cent).
IOC currently employs more than 2,500 employees and has the capacity to produce approximately 18 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate per year.
Iron is one of the most common elements on Earth, comprising about five per cent of the Earth’s crust. We extract iron ore from beneath the surface rock, crush it and concentrate it. We can then either transform it into iron pellets suitable for use in blast furnaces, or transport it directly by rail to our port facility in Sept-Îles. From here it is shipped to customers around the world. Iron is the key ingredient in the production of steel, one of the most useful and durable products for modern living.
After being processed at the Labrador City operations, the pellets and concentrate are transported on the IOC-owned-and-operated Quebec North Shore & Labrador Railway to our shipping terminal and year-round deep water port in Sept-Îles. The trains can haul up to 23,000 tonnes of ore in 240 cars stretching some 4 kilometres in length.
In response to the increased demand for iron ore from traditional and new markets, IOC re-launched its Concentrate Expansion Program (CEP). This will increase capacity from 18 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate per year to 22 million by 2013.
The first stage of the Concentrate Expansion Program (CEP1) comprised the construction of a Parallel Ore Delivery System and a new crusher to increase primary grinding capacity, and associated mine and rail equipment.
CEP2 sees IOC invest C$289 million to expand its magnetite processing facility and add new spiral lines to its gravity separation circuit. It also includes purchase of additional mining equipment, railway cars and a locomotive as well as upgrades at the Wabush terminal sub-substation.
The QNS&L’s operations (Quebec North Shore & Labrador Railway) are controlled by dispatchers at the rail traffic control centre in Sept-Îles. Dispatchers have a full view and full control of rail traffic between Sept-Îles and Labrador City. The rail traffic control system was replaced in 2012 and now uses a number of state-of-the-art ergonomics, computing, and railway communications/signalling protocol technologies. This ensures safe, reliable and smooth operations of the trains and maintenance of the railway.
At IOC we believe it is our duty to meet the needs of the present without harming the environment. Responsible environmental practices are an essential aspect of our journey to zero harm.
We contribute to sustainable development by helping to satisfy global and community needs and aspirations, whether economic, social or environmental. This means making sustainable development considerations an integral part of our business plans and decision making processes.
IOC’s operations in Canada have a long tradition of community support and the contribution to the provincial and local economy is therefore substantial. Apart from employment, IOC’s tax contribution is over C$200 million annually. We spend more than C$billion in any given year (in operating and capital expenses) and over C$1 million a year in community investments. The economic spin-offs to suppliers, contractors and others, and our economic impact on the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador amount to much more.
Community Advisory Panels in Labrador West and Sept-Îles
IOC works closely with local communities to build an understanding of how the company impacts its environment, and how both the company and the communities can create opportunities for each other for long-term sustainable success.
Through the Community Advisory Panel (CAP) process, IOC has worked with community leaders in Labrador West and Sept-Îles to create a framework for addressing issues of mutual concern.
Regional Taskforce on community growth in Labrador City
In Labrador City, a taskforce has been set up to complement the Community Advisory Panel (CAP). The Regional Taskforce is made up of senior executives from IOC and the other mining companies in the area, the mayors of Labrador City and Wabush, as well as officials from the departments of Municipal Affairs and Natural Resources, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat and the Labrador Affairs office. This multi-sector group of senior representatives works collaboratively to anticipate and address the rapid growth of the Labrador West communities and identify the pressure points so that appropriate actions can be taken.
IOC is a strong believer in good relations with local Aboriginal groups. We have been in active discussions with various groups to conclude agreements regarding training and employment, business opportunities, social involvement and other benefits.