Two ministers were on hand last Friday at the Port of Sept-Îles on the occasion of the announcement of $120 million in funding support from the Québec government to the Société ferroviaire de Pointe-Noire (SFPPN) to expand the capacity of its terminal installations. The major investment coincides with a strong recent surge in iron ore traffic at the St. Lawrence port today on track to handle well over 30 million tonnes in 2020 – its highest volume in four decades, thanks especially to growing demand from Asian markets.
Making the announcement, which falls within the context of the recent $778 million relaunching by the Legault government of the Plan Nord development plan, were Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec Minister of the Economy and Innovation, and Jonatan Julien, Natural Resources Minister.
The funding support is in the form of subsidies and loan. And out of the $120 million package, $50 million comes directly from the Société du Plan Nord. The remaining $70 million comes from a loan granted by the provincial government to Minerai de Fer Québec (MFQ), which will be distributing the funding to the SFPPN and also provide an additional $15 million.
The mining enterprise in the Labrador Trough rich resource region plans to double its production in the near future.
Minister Jonatan Julien indicated there was “a direct link” between the funding support and MFQ’s announcement of its intention to double the production of its Bloom Lake mine by May 2022 from 7.5 million tonnes to 15 million tonnes. This will translate into 375 permanent new jobs at the mine.