MHA says Labrador missing out on rail, port development

Andrew Robinson
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Says province should take active involvement in study on transportation link

Yvonne Jones

A Labrador MHA is criticizing the provincial government for its lack of involvement in a process that she claims could help create jobs in her area but will, instead, see them go to Quebec.

According to Yvonne Jones, a feasibility study will look at creating a new rail line and port facilities for moving iron ore out of the Labrador Trough area. The study will reportedly involve Canadian National Railway, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (which manages public pension funds), and a number of mining companies with interests in Labador and northern Quebec.

The study relates to a lack of rail capacity to deal with the transportation of minerals in the years ahead, and Jones said investments that could benefit Labrador appear to be destined for Sept-Îles, Que., likely creating a second rail line leading to the community.

“Why aren’t we looking at building a railway right across Labrador so that we can transport Labrador ore and ship it directly from Labrador?,” asks Jones, the Liberal critic on natural resources. “Why do we have to continue to do it through Sept-Îles?”

Labrador Iron Mines announced last week the feasibility study will proceed.

Jones said Sept-Îles has benefited greatly since the Government of Quebec first introduced a rail system for transporting minerals more than 50 years ago, helping it grow from a small fishing community to a thriving town with a population exceeding 20,000.

She feels the provincial government should be pushing for a feasibility study to build rail lines leading to a port facility in Labrador. She expects such a development would create long-term employment in Labrador.

“We’ve got to have some vision of where we’re going for the next 50 years in the mining industry in Labrador, and right now they’re not having that vision. They’re not demonstrating it in any productive way when it comes to building the infrastructure to support the industry.”

See EARLIER, page D2

Earlier report covered some points, department says

A spokeswoman for Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy said he would not comment on Jones’ concerns. She said new rail lines will help support the development of mining in the Labrador Trough and benefit the region as a whole.

She also directed The Telegram to a January 2011 report prepared for the department by Stassinu Stantec Ltd. Partnership on infrastructure constraints in relation to future development of iron resources in Labrador.

It includes an analysis of potential new port sites in Labrador and identified 22 bays and inlets suitable for harbour locations. Goose Bay was found to be the only one not located along the Strait of Belle Isle, an area where pack ice would reduce the shipping season by four-to-five months, according to the report.

It also found that a 590-kilometre rail line connecting Ross Bay Junction — almost 360 kilometres north of Sept-Îles — to Goose Bay will cost $2.35 billion.

Twitter: TeleAndrew

Organizations: Canadian National Railway, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

Geographic location: Labrador, Sept-Îles, Quebec.According Labador Northern Quebec.The Quebec Goose Bay

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Recent comments

  • DJ
    August 17, 2012 - 15:01

    Ms. Jones should study the history books concerning the building of the QNS&L railway. It was not built by the Quebec government but by a consortium of American steel companies who started the Iron Ore Co. of Canada. The rail line ran from Sept-Iles to Schefferville, PQ. It was completed in 1954, which was long before Labrador City and Wabush even existed. The reason Sept-Iles was selected was because it was a deep water port and it is ice-free all winter long. It has taken successive provincial governments since the mid-80's to build a cow path of a road to the Labrador coast and you are suggesting that we build a railway? Get real. I think that it is high time that you retired, sit back on your fat MHA pension and keep on dreaming the impossible dream.

  • Cold Future
    August 17, 2012 - 10:27

    Is that correct-shipping out more ore? Thought we would have given that up altogether. Ore shipped out to Ontario from Voiseys bay should have been the last of this type of giveaway. How much ridicule can we take?-in Ontario they said after that deal that "It would not happen in Ontario but my family thanks you, I thank and my dog thanks you." At least in Labrador CIty and Wabush, they process the ore into pellets before shipping it out. Two paper mills which closed on the island were impacted because the people of Labrador would not allow shipping timber to the island without sawing it up or processing it there and now we will ship out unprocessed ore-We will never learn.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    August 17, 2012 - 08:08

    $5.8 billion would provide 1) a tunnel link for people/goods between Labrador and the island, 2) a more reliable/upgradeable power link between Labrador and the island including the land portion of the transmission line, 3) a saving of $0.4 billion for the power link between Labrador and the island, 4) a rail line that can link the mines of western Labrador with Goose Bay for the export of ore (bringing jobs and economic development to Goose Bay, 5) --- and a net savings of about $4 billion compared to the cost of an unneeded, high cost, high price Muskrat Falls dam/generation plant. .....TOUGH CHOICE. So why would Ms. Jones support Muskrat Falls, when a fixed link and rail line would much more for Labrador and the mines --- for much less?

  • M
    August 16, 2012 - 10:47

    Stop the Insanity!!!!! Building railway lines to the coast of Labrador away from the mainland to create jobs in Jone's district???!!! Sad thing is that she is serious. Listen people, you may occasionally get irritated by the governing group, but please don't lose sight of the fact that every time these Libs and the NDP open their mouth they are requesting costly, nonsensical projects. The opposition parties are a farce...Need to stay the course despite a few hiccups me thinks.

  • Christopher Chafe
    August 16, 2012 - 07:49

    What's this....a Liberal complaining about work going to Quebec? I always thought the Liberals here in Newfoundland were in bed with the province of Quebec.

    • KD
      August 16, 2012 - 18:48

      Ms Jones needs a history lesson if I remember correctly it was the liberals under smallwood who gave everything from labrador away the iron ore from wabush is pellitized at sept iles The people who work for the qns&l at labrador city are not even permitted to work in nl where the quebecers perform all the work come yvonne take some history lessons before you start shooting your mouth of