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Wednesday, November 23, 2022 – morning
Mining industry in Québec: challenges, solutions, perspectives
Eliot Lavoie, François Belle-Isle
As a major mining producer in Canada, Québec has a wide variety of mineral resources. Among these resources, iron, gold, nickel, lithium, graphite, cobalt and titanium are mined at numerous sites or are the subject of several development projects.
This session discusses the mining, valorization, purification, transformation or recycling of the various minerals present in Québec. It also covers some of the challenges faced by the mining industry and the innovative solutions that have been found to address them.
Opening of the session
Bloom Lake's high-purity iron concentrate: at the heart of decarbonizing the steel industry
After having successfully supervised the takeover of the Bloom Lake mining site assets, Québec Iron Ore, with its Innu partners, the community of Fermont and its various collaborators, produces a high-purity iron concentrate with one of the lowest carbon intensities in the world.
Based on years of expertise acquired in Québec through mining research and development, this world-class product has become a key solution in the decarbonization of the steel industry.
With the Phase II expansion of the Bloom Lake mining site having been commissioned last May, what are the growth projects evaluated by Québec Iron Ore to maximize its benefits on the Côte-Nord region and become part of the green steel supply chain?
One of Canada’s Premier Near-Term Re-Development Opportunities in Mine-Friendly Québec
Doré Copper Mining Corp. aims to be the next copper producer in Québec with an initial production target of over 50 million pounds of copper equivalent annually by implementing a hub-and-spoke operation model with multiple high-grade copper-gold assets feeding its centralized Copper Rand mill. The Corporation has delivered its PEA in May 2022 and plans to commence a feasibility study and submit the Preliminary Information Statement of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in Q3 2022.
A presentation of the company and its Mont Sorcier Iron and Vanadium project
Voyager Metals Inc. (“Voyager” or the “Company”) is a Canadian company publicly listed on the TSX.V. The company is managed by a team of executives with extensive experience developing, operating and financing mining projects.
Voyager’s primary assets is the Mont Sorcier Iron Ore and Vanadium project, located a short drive from the town of Chibougamau, Québec. The Mont Sorcier project is targeting to produce high grade 65% or higher magnetite iron concentrate with low impurities, which is the premium iron product desired in the market today given the significant ESG benefits as compared to lower grade materials. The vanadium contained within the concentrate is expected to deliver a significant additional credit. The project is ideally located with access to key infrastructure already in place such as sufficient rail capacity, hydroelectric power and direct access to the Port of Saguenay for export to global markets.
In July of 2022 the company completed an updated NI 43-101 complaint Mineral Resource that outlined Indicated Resources for both the North Zone and the South Zone of 679 Mt grading 27.7% magnetite and 0.20% V2O5, with the potential to produce 195 Mt of magnetite concentrate grading at least 65% Fe and 0.52% vanadium pentoxide. In addition, Voyager has also outlined an additional Inferred Resources for both the North Zone and the South Zone of 547 Mt grading 26.1% magnetite and 0.17% V2O5, with the potential to produce 148 Mt of magnetite concentrate grading at least 65% Fe and 0.52% vanadium pentoxide (V2O5). Supported by the updated resource, Voyager has also completed an updated Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) focused on the Indicated Resources within the North Zone only that demonstrate robust economics. The PEA outlined a 5 Mt per annum production rate over a mine life of 20 years and a LoM average AISC of US$66/tonne of concentrate with a NPV of US$1.6 billion and an after-tax IRR of 43%. Given the size of the overall resource base, mine life extension or future expansion is viewed as highly probable.
Voyager is now in the process of completing a full bankable feasibility study by Q1/2023 along with the submission of the Environmental Impact Assessment shortly thereafter to commence the formal permitting process. Consultations with the various regional stakeholders have commenced and remain ongoing.
In summary, Voyager is positioned to be the next major iron development project in Québec, delivering high grade iron concentrate to the global markets.
Galaxy Lithium (Canada), a subsidiary of Allkem: James Bay lithium mine project
Allkem is offering to develop the James Bay Project, located in northern Québec, approximately 130 km east of James Bay and the Cree community of Eastmain. This sustainable operation aims to maximize the use of renewable energy by drawing from the expertise in spodumene extraction acquired at the Mount Cattlin mine in Australia.
The development strategy is to advance the operation of the upstream mine and concentrator while simultaneously exploring downstream ore development options.
The James Bay project resource and reserve estimates released on December 21, 2021 indicate mineral resources of 40.3 Mt at 1.4% Li2O and reserves of 37.2 Mt at 1.3% Li2O. The 2021 feasibility study forecasts an average annual production of 321 kt/year of spodumene concentrate grading 5.6% Li2O with a mine life of approximately 19 years.
This high-grade spodumene pegmatite deposit is exposed, allowing open pit mining for the life of the mine using conventional mining methods with a low stripping ratio of 3.5:1. Mineralization also remains open to the north and east of the orebody.
Like the Mount Cattlin operation, the treatment plant is designed to produce a 6.0% Li2O concentrate with operating flexibility to increase spodumene recovery while reducing the grade to 5.6% Li2O.
The processing steps are also similar to that of Mount Cattlin and includes crushing and separation through a dense medium. The coarse grain size of the ore eliminates the need for crushing and flotation steps, which contributes to lower operating costs.
The feasibility study indicates operating costs of US$333/t (FOB Montréal) for a 5.6% Li2O spodumene concentrate and capital cost estimates of US$285.8 million. The economic data associated with the project are robust, with a pre-tax net present value of US$1.42 billion at an 8% discount rate, a pre-tax internal rate of return of 45.8% and a pre-tax payback period of 2.4 years.
The project is well served by key infrastructure, including Hydro-Québec's transmission lines, which provide a clean, low-cost source of power for approximately 45% of the site's energy needs. It is also located near the Billy Diamond Road, which connects it to major roads and railroads in the region.
The town of Matagami, located approximately four hours south of the James Bay project, is connected to the Canadian National Railway system, which will allow future production to be shipped by rail throughout North America or to the ports of the St. Lawrence River for overseas shipment.
Project Windfall: Evolution and future prospects of a world-class project
The conference will cover the progress of the Windfall project since its acquisition by Osisko Mining, key milestones in the project's evolution, next steps and future prospects.