To the Chinamax

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Natural Resources Notebook

They are categorized as “very large ore carrier,” also known as Chinamax bulk carriers and, well, they’re big.

(Above) A Chinamax ore carrier at the Port of Sept-Îles, Que. — Submitted photo

This week, Cliffs Natural Resources and the Port of Sept-Îles, Que., announced one of the ships would be used for the first time in North America — to bring iron ore concentrate stored at the port to Asia.

The vessel is tasked to carry 300,000 metric tons of iron ore concentrate, from the Bloom Lake mine in the Labrador Trough, on the Quebec-Labrador border, to Asia for China’s Wuhan Iron and Steel Co. (Wisco).

“We are witnessing a historical turning point today: the opening of our port to the next generation of ore vessels of the planet,” said Pierre Gagnon, the port’s president and CEO, in a statement issued Oct. 16.

“We must congratulate the initiative of our partner, Cliffs Natural Resources, who made this possible.”

Cliffs Natural Resources also operates the mine at Wabush.


Darrell loses, Dexter wins

On Oct. 8, Darrell Dexter was ousted as Nova Scotia’s premier, losing his leadership position and his seat in a provincial election.

The politician was a strong supporter of this province’s Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project and what, if any, challenges to the project might come from the new Liberal leadership in Nova Scotia remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, a new offshore oil project in Newfoundland has spelled success for the unassociated Dexter Construction — part of the Municipal Group of Cos., based in Bedford, N.S. The company will be digging out what will ultimately be the drydock for the West White Rose wellhead platform at Argentia.

“The scope of work involves construction of the graving dock at Argentia, and we would expect it to begin in the near future,” stated Husky Energy spokeswoman Colleen McConnell, who added the work is dependent on final permitting.

Husky has also issued a call for expressions of interest for the fabrication of the platform’s topsides.


MMSB donates to cleanup

In marking Waste Reduction Week — continuing through Oct. 27 — the provincial Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB) announced $100,000 in funding for a variety of projects, through its solid waste management innovation fund.

An $11,000 cheque will be given to the Restoration Of Labrador Exploration Sites (ROLES) project. It is an initiative to clean abandoned mining sites in Labrador and is led by Altius Minerals and a collection of mining companies active in the Big Land.

None of the old exploration sites are the legal responsibility of the companies involved.

Work on the ROLES project in 2013 included interviews with local people, helicopter pilots and others, to determine where some of the old mining exploration sites can be found and catalogue them for further on-site work in summer 2014.


Change-up in Nunatsiavut

In a statement issued Oct. 21, Nunatsiavut President Sarah Leo announced her government’s First Minister, Darryl Shiwak, will take over as minister of Lands and Natural Resources in addition to his current duties.

Shiwak will be stepping in as acting minister, replacing Glen Sheppard, who has resigned for health reasons. Sheppard will be continuing on as an ordinary government member for Postville.

Shiwak has previously acted as Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, stepping in for Sheppard when he took some leave time about a year ago for personal reasons.


Noia tackling supply chain sustainability

The province’s oil and gas industries association, Noia, is developing a Supply Chain Sustainability and Growth Strategy for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Byron Sparkes, a former director of Industrial Benefits within the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, is acting as a consultant for the development of the strategy.

Sparkes is retired from government after a 35-year career, being engaged on the topic of industrial benefits from the oil and gas sector for the last 20 years.

“Noia’s (strategy) will be the first local industry-developed vision to help ensure the industry is on the right path for future decades of investment and production in Newfoundland and Labrador,” the association’s leadership has stated.

Meanwhile, Noia is looking ahead to its fall informational seminar Nov. 14 at the Delta Hotel. The seminar is entitled “Deepwater: Technology that runs deep.”


The Natural Resources Notebook is compiled by reporter Ashley Fitzpatrick.

Do you have news from the resource sectors? Let us know at

Organizations: Wuhan Iron and Steel Co., Restoration Of Labrador Exploration Sites, Wisco Argentia Multi-Materials Stewardship Board Dexter Construction Municipal Group Husky Energy Delta Hotel

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Port of Sept-Îles North America Quebec-Labrador Asia China Falls Bedford

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