Mr. David Cataford reports
CHAMPION IRON TO RAMP DOWN MINING OPERATIONS AT ITS BLOOM LAKE MINE, FURTHER TO THE GOVERNMENT OF QUEBEC'S COVID-19 CONTAINMENT DIRECTIVES
Champion Iron Ltd. will ramp down operations at the Bloom Lake mining complex, following a directive from the Quebec government, which requires mining activities to be reduced to a minimum in the province of Quebec, Canada, as of March 24, 2020, until at least April 13, 2020, in an effort to contain COVID-19.
With $187.5-million in cash and short-term investments as of the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2019, the company has substantial liquidity to withstand the period of reduced operations as mandated under the current directives from the government of Quebec. Essential workers will remain on site to reduce mining activities to a minimum until governmental approvals are granted to resume normal operations. The company had communicated its intentions to address its phase 2 growth plans by the middle of the current calendar year. Given today's announcement, the company's discretionary capital expenditure in connection with the phase 2 expansion project has been suspended, and the timeline to communicate further details on the phase 2 plans will be postponed to a later time.
Champion chief executive officer David Cataford said: "As requested by the government of Quebec, we will participate in the collective effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. With strong financial liquidity, our company is in a resilient position and will take responsible actions to minimize the risk for our employees, partners and affected communities. Our operations have remained robust, and we will implement procedures to enable normal operations to recommence as soon as possible upon receiving a directive from the government."
About Champion Iron Ltd.
On April 11, 2016, the company, through its subsidiary Quebec Iron Ore Inc., acquired the Bloom Lake assets from bankruptcy protection. Following the release of a feasibility study on Feb. 16, 2017, the company recommissioned Bloom Lake in February, 2018, which completed its first shipment on April 1, 2018. In June, 2019, the company released a feasibility study for the phase 2 expansion, which envisions doubling the mine's overall capacity from 7.4 million tonnes per annum to 15 million tonnes per annum. On Aug. 16, 2019, the company finalized the terms of an agreement with Ressources Quebec Inc. whereby the company acquired Ressources Quebec's 36.8-per-cent equity interest in Quebec Iron Ore Inc. and now owns 100 per cent of Quebec Iron Ore, which owns the Bloom Lake mine.
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