Min­is­ter’s op­ti­mism high for in­dus­try

Siob­han Coady ad­dresses MINEX sym­po­sium in Labrador West

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - BUSINESS - BY MIKE POWER

There is still lots of po­ten­tial in min­ing in this prov­ince, Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Siob­han Coady told del­e­gates at the MINEX min­ing sym­po­sium in Labrador West.

“De­spite some fluc­tu­a­tions in com­modi­ties the news in re­cent months points to re­bounds for min­er­als like iron ore,” she said.

Iron ore, which has been the back­bone of the Labrador econ­omy, rose to all­time highs of over $180 a ton. Last year it had fallen to just over $40, and now has been at about $75 in re­cent weeks.

Coady told del­e­gates that with the re­cent an­nounce­ment of the sale of Wabush mines, things are look­ing brighter for the Labrador West area. She also pointed to the work be­ing done by Tata Steel near Sch­ef­ferville, Que., and just across the bor­der at the Ar­cel­lor Mit­tal fa­cil­ity in Mt. Wright. As well, plans are un­der­way to re­open the Bloom Lake mine, which closed a cou­ple of years ago.

“We are work­ing with Que­bec to find ways we can work to­gether in de­vel­op­ing the Labrador trough which runs between both prov­inces,” Coady told the del­e­gates.

“There are cer­tainly ways we can work to­gether that will ben­e­fit both prov­inces and help the econ­omy of the re­gion grow.” The min­is­ter also ac­knowl­edged there are head­winds to face in some cases.

Com­mod­ity prices like nickel have fallen.

De­spite a re­view by Vale, and a re­cent an­nounce­ment that the un­der­ground plans for Voisey’s Bay were put on hold, she said she is con­fi­dent the project will even­tu­ally go ahead. Dur­ing slower times, gov­ern­ment has been en­cour­ag­ing ex­plo­ration and dis­cov­ery. She says work has been done on many map­ping projects that will pro­mote ex­plo­ration. North­ern Labrador and the Ashua­nipi area of Western Labrador have great po­ten­tial she ex­plained. T

here is an ef­fort to find and de­velop rare earth min­er­als, as she made ref­er­ence to a project near Port Hope Simp­son.

She also had an in­ter­est­ing fact to pass along say­ing there were 3,256 claims staked in 2015. Coady says there have been 10,717 to date in 2017. Coady says gov­ern­ment will work with col­leges to make sure the skilled peo­ple needed are trained and ready for work, and they are work­ing with Min­ing NL to en­cour­age de­vel­op­ment.

In ad­di­tion, she paid trib­ute to the many in­dus­try lead­ers, and the skilled ex­per­tise of the del­e­gates at the sym­po­sium, say­ing there has been a lot of pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment and suc­cess in the prov­inces min­ing in­dus­try.

She called on those to be in­no­va­tive and to keep work­ing to en­sure we re­main com­pet­i­tive in an in­dus­try that faces tough com­pe­ti­tion from around the world.

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