At IOC we are committed to becoming a premier mining organization in North America. To achieve this goal, the way we do our work every day at IOC is just as important as the work that we deliver. Our commitment to health, safety, environment and communities (HSEC) is fundamental to how we do business.
Environment Management

IOC’s operations are unique in the context of the iron ore industry in that we not only mine ore, we also process that ore into high quality concentrate and pellets and transport the final product over 400 kilometres by rail to Sept-Iles, where it is shipped to our customers worldwide. Each stage of this process impacts or has the potential to impact the natural and human environment. We recognise these risks and our responsibility to minimize or eliminate all actual and potential impacts on the land, air, water and people everywhere we work.

At IOC, our mining operations are governed by several environmental laws and regulations, across Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. Beyond the framework provided by these regulations and legal requirements, we are proactive in identifying potential environmental impacts before they happen. IOC partners with local Indigenous communities, as well as stakeholders at the local, regional, national and international levels, to ensure that our environmental management represents best practice and reflect our drive for continuous improvement. We recognise that meeting and exceeding our environmental responsibilities is critical to our business success, ensuring ongoing stakeholder confidence and community engagement.

Reflecting this drive to be a leader in environmental management, we are proud to be a member of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and continuously meet the requirements of its Toward Sustainable Mining (TSM) program, which provides a set of guiding principles that allow us to track and improve our social and environmental performance year-on-year. This framework also allows IOC to benchmark its performance against other organizations in the mining sector in the areas of: Energy and Greenhouse Gas Management, Tailings Management, Safety and Health and Biodiversity.



Environmental Management

Environmental management at IOC looks at the entire mining life cycle and works to reduce impacts across the following four key areas: 


  • Progressive Rehabilitation and Restoration of mine sites;
  • Water Management;
  • Emissions Management;
  • Land Management.


Progressive Rehabilitation and Restoration of mine sites

As part of our mining lease that allows extraction, IOC has a mine rehabilitation and restoration plan approved by the Newfoundland and Labrador government that commits to progressive rehabilitation and restoration of the land. With an operational history of more than 60 years, we have already completed the restoration of over 600 hectares as stipulated by our closure plan. This re-vegetation program continues to improve local wetlands, rivers, lakes and other water bodies, attracting a wide variety of wildlife and contributing to our air-quality management efforts, as restored lands aid in dust reduction. Through our commitment to progressive rehabilitation the amount of rehabilitated land will increase each year, with an additional 49 hectares restored in 2017.


Water Management

Both Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec are home to a rich and diverse aquatic environment. For IOC, water management is an important risk to measure and monitor at all times. We undertake a regular water quality monitoring program to mitigate impacts on the aquatic environment and when necessary implement preventative or remedial actions. Our approach to water management is guided by mine life-cycle considerations and the nature of our extraction and refinement processes. From exploration to closure, we aim to minimize the impact of our operation on the water resources within our mine lease and in the surrounding environment.


Cowboy Creek Rehabilitation

As part of our commitment to alleviating our environmental impacts pertaining to the Wabush 3 project, we commenced a fish habitat compensation plan which consists of rehabilitation and stream restoration along approximately 4 km’s of Cowboy Creek, a portion of which had been damaged by wildfires. The success of the rehabilitation will be measured for the next 10 years to ensure that we are managing our ecological commitments.


Emissions and Air Quality Management

Mining and processing activities can impact air quality through the release of fugitive dust and stack emissions into the atmosphere. At IOC, we work to minimize the release of particles through improved programs and processing controls, this includes tailings dust management, dust reduction projects and ambient air quality monitoring. These initiatives are designed to help improve the quality of the ambient air, reduce environmental impacts at the source and respond to local community concerns.

As part of this program, we are committed to transparency and the results of ambient air quality monitoring are available through Environment Canada’s Air Quality Health Index or from the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial monitoring site at Fire Hall. This data reflects emissions generated by IOC, as well as from other sources in the community including other mining operations, vehicle emissions and wood-burning stoves. The air quality of Labrador City has been independently verified by environmental and health science consultants from Intrinsik, who concluded that the air quality is similar to that of other small cities or towns in the Atlantic region. These independent and peer reviewed studies have found that air quality in Labrador City does not pose a health risk to residents.

If you have questions or concerns, or would like to learn more about our Emissions and Air Quality Management, contact our IOC feedback line at 709 944-8400 ext. 8677 or email us at



Through revegetation, compensation plans, education, inspections and environmental assessments, IOC aims at preserving the natural resources in the boreal forest and marine environment it finds itself part of. Rio Tinto has developed a biodiversity standard based on a hierarchy of controls; avoid, minimize and mitigate. IOC works to incorporate this hierarchy of controls into its everyday operations and decision-making process. 


Greenhouse Gas Emissions

IOC’s pellets and concentrate are high grade products with world leading low alumina and ultra-low phosphorus, beneficial to the iron & steel industry. These pellets are high quality with a clean chemistry, which helps to lower the carbon footprint, compared to lower quality grades and forms of iron ore, when used in the iron & steel industry. We continue to work with government and our internal experts to save energy, increase efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint.