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The Globe and Mail

Railway, miners to study Quebec-Labrador iron belt transportation project

A CN train passes by Dorval station in Montreal, January 23, 2012.

Christinne Muschi/The Globe and Mail

Canadian National Railway Co., several mining companies and a major pension fund manager are looking at building new transportation infrastructure to serve iron ore producers at the Quebec-Labrador border.

Besides Montreal-based CN, the participants include the Caisse de depot pension fund manager as well as Labrador Iron Mines Holdings Ltd.

Other partners include Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., a big multinational iron ore producer, as well as Canadian public mining companies New Millennium Iron and Alderon Iron Ore Corp.

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The group has agreed to fund a feasibility study to analyse the cost and engineering requirements for a rail line and ore-handling terminal.

CN says it will co-ordinate an application to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, clearing the way for discussions with affected parties including First Nations.

Canadian National didn't disclose how much the project might cost or when it could be completed.

"CN will work closely with mining companies in the group and the Caisse to determine the best design and right timing for the development of rail infrastructure to tap the significant iron ore production potential of the Labrador Trough in northern Quebec and Labrador," said Claud Mongeau, president and chief executive of the Montreal-based railway company.

Rod Cooper, Labrador Iron Mines' president and chief operating officer, said in a separate statement that a new terminal handling facility at the Port of Sept-iles would complement plans for a new dock at the port.

"We are excited to move ahead with these developments, as they represent important steps to enhance long-term rail and port access for LIM's iron ore," Mr. Cooper said.

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