Arctic mega mine expects to dig early 2013

ArcelorMittal's planned mega mine in the Arctic Circle expects to clear regulatory hurdles and begin construction next year.

The company initially announced its plans to build the Mary River iron ore mine, valued at $21 billion, this time last year.

The project would include the construction of a 150km railway and two new ports in the region.

At the time the company had already spent $558 million acquiring Baffinland Iron mines in the region, to develop the Mary River deposits in the Canadian arctic.

The project will employ more than 2000 workers to construct 24 bridges, roads, airstrips, ports and infrastructure.

The railway is predicted to take four years to build.

It is now aiming for a five year schedule of construction begining in early 2013, Reuters reports.

"We are hoping that those regulatory processes would be complete in early 2013, which would allow us to have the project approved and begin the planning out for construction purposes," Ron Hampton, the Mary River project director said.

"We don't have a specific (construction) date right now, but it will not be before 2013."

The mine is planning to produce around 18 million tonnes annually over the first two years, after which it ramp up production.

It has a confirmed resource of 400 million tonnes, with an inferred resource of potentially 1 billion tonnes.

The proposed port will be constructed to handle around 30 million tonnes annually.

Mining in the Arctic and Antarctic regions has taken a step forward in recent years as more countries turn towards their untapped resources due to global warming, which has made more areas in these regions accessible.

According to the national security policy advisor to the Prime Minister, Ellie Fogarty, major powers such as China and Russia have voiced their interest in Antarctica's resource potential.


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