Corporate officers
Mission and Values
Doing business with us
Our products
Our mining process
Our railway activities
Our port activities
Our Wabush 3 Project
Press releases
Photo library
Working with us
Employee Hydro Rebate
Our business
HomeOur businessOur Wabush 3 Project
Our Wabush 3 Project

News Release - September 11, 2015

Wabush 3 Open Pit Mine Receives Green Light for Development


IOC Wabush 3 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

The EIS is available on the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation website (Registration 1711).


Current situation

IOC has been operating the Carol Project in Labrador City since the 1960s. The Labrador City Operation produces concentrated iron ore and pellets (further processed), and transports these by train to the port of Sept-Îles on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and from there to global customers.


This Project currently consists of:

  • four operating open pit mines (Humphrey Main, Humphrey South, Sherwood Pond and Luce);
  • two dormant pits (Lorraine and Spooks);
  • one completed pit (Smallwood); and
  • two new deposits (Wabush 3 and Wabush 6), which are in the planning stages for future development (See below).

The current site, including mine pits (operating and closed), tailings and waste rock management areas, concentrator and pellet plant, associated infrastructure, railway lines, conveyors and roads comprise an area of approximately 11,000 ha.


IOC has recently implemented two phases of its Concentrate Expansion Project (CEP1 and CEP2) to upgrade and modernise its operations to increase production. CEP 1 (operational since August 2012) consisted of installing a new crusher and conveyor at Luce Pit and a new grinding mill at the concentrator, both of which increased iron concentrate production capacity from 18 to 22 million tonnes per year.

IOC plans to construct a new pit referred to as the Wabush 3 Open Pit Mine Project (Wabush 3). This conventional open pit mine, it will serve the IOC operations in two fundamental ways:

  • allow flexibility in providing iron ore feed to its existing concentrator plant to achieve and maintain production of iron concentrate at the mill’s rated capacity; and
  • provide a new source of iron ore to extend the operating life of its Carol Project.


Location of Wabush 3

Wabush 3 is within IOC’s existing property boundaries (Mining Lease 15 - Block 22-5) to the south of, and adjacent to, the operating Luce Pit (see image). The entire proposed footprint is within the Town of Labrador City’s Planning Area Boundary and mostly within its Municipal Boundary.


The centre of the proposed Wabush 3 pit is approximately four km to the north of Route 500 and Tanya Lake in the Town of Labrador City. Its southern edge is approximately three km from the Town. It is also to the west of, and adjacent to, Smokey Mountain Ski Club and sections of the Menihek Nordic Ski Club trails. Activities at some distance, near or intersecting with the proposed Wabush 3 mine pit’s footprint include:

  • Leg Lake, Pumphouse Pond, Drum Lake, Trout Lake and Dumbell Lake, which are located in general proximity of the Project area (only Pumphouse Pond and Drum Lake may be directly affected);
  • a portion of the proposed pit covers part of the western side of Dumbell Lake protected municipal watershed;
  • Beverly Lake protected watershed (provincial), which is located east of the Project’s footprint;
  • a two km section of the snowmobile trail, which is within one km of the southern edge of the Wabush 3 pit;
  • a Habitat Management Unit, which is located at Beverly Lake (3.5 km);
  • a municipal Conservation Zone, which is located at Tanya Lake (4 km);
  • cabins, which are located on Thorne Lake (8 km);
  • Tamarack Golf Club, which is located 9 km; and
  • Duley Lake Provincial Park Reserve, which is located 11 km from the proposed pit.



Site Description

The Project site area is approximately 464 ha. The locations of the open pit mine and the water extraction system are based on the location of the iron ore deposit and designed to minimize effects on the surrounding environmental, as follows:


  •  The proposed sites for waste rock disposal and overburden storage as well as mine water treatment and discharge locations have been selected based on avoiding the Beverly Lake watershed.
  •  Mine surface water will be directed to a settling pond, where suspended solids will be settled out and any residual ammonia from blasting products will be neutralised, applying a similar technique as is currently used for surface water from the Luce Pit. The treated water could be discharged into the Luce Lake, Leg Lake or Dumbell Lake watersheds, depending on which option provides the best technical and environmental solution. 

The proposed footprint is mostly Greenfield and includes two small lakes - Pumphouse Pond (7.5 ha) and Drum Lake (5.6 ha). Both lakes are entirely located within the mine pit footprint.



Future Plans


Wabush 3 Layout



Projected configuration


Project Schedule and Employment

Construction phase - 12 months
Operations phase - 40 years or longer depending on mining rates.


Construction employment - approximately 90 individuals, mostly sub-contracted, to prepare:

  • extension of the power line;
  • installation of electrical sub-stations;
  • drilling of dewatering wells;
  • installation of dewatering pipelines;
  • excavation of a settling pond; and
  • clearing, gravel stripping and initial drilling and blasting.




  • May 23, 2013 - The undertaking was registered.
  • June 28, 2013 - Deadline for public comments.
  • July 5, 2013 - The minister’s decision is due.
  • July 24, 2013 - Environmental Impact Statement required.
  • August 27, 2013 - Environmental Assessment Committee Appointed.
  • October 3, 2013 - Draft Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines.
  • April 3, 2014 - Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines.



For further information, please contact: