Champion Iron reports record ore production in quarter

Champion Iron has announced record production of 2,962,500 wmt of high-grade 66.0% Fe concentrate for the three-month period ended December 31, 2022, representing an increase of nearly 50% compared to 2,013,200 wmt for the same period in 2021.

The company said that higher production during the period was driven by achieving commercial production of the Phase II concentrator in December.

“Quarterly production from the two concentrators was negatively impacted by third-party delays in delivering mining equipment, which impacted mining capacity, together with significant electrical failures and operational interruptions following abnormal weather events, impacting the greater Québec province in late December 2022,” the company said.

Longer than planned shutdowns, as well as unplanned outages during the commissioning of the new crusher’s conveyor systems, also negatively impacted production in the period, it added.

The company also reported revenues of $351.2 million ($253.0 million for the same period in 2021), net cash flow from operating activities of $13.4 million ($104.6 million for the same period in 2021), EBITDA of $118.2 million ($122.1 million for the same period in 2021) and net income of $51.4 million (EPS of $0.10) ($68.0 million and EPS of $0.13 for the same period in 2021).

The company said that financial results during the quarter, compared to the prior-year period, were positively impacted by the increase in iron ore sold; however, this was offset by lower iron ore index prices compared to the same period last year, expected transitional start-up costs to support Phase II commercial production and higher operating costs.

CEO David Cataford stated, “In addition to reporting another quarterly production record, the Phase II expansion project reaching commercial production is a significant milestone that culminates years of work by our dedicated workforce. The Phase II investments at Bloom Lake should contribute to normalizing operating costs per tonne sold as we continue to ramp up the project towards nameplate capacity, which we anticipate achieving in the near term.

“Additionally, our commitment to reduce emissions in the steelmaking process continues as we announce the positive findings of the feasibility study which evaluated the further upgrading of Bloom Lake’s iron ore concentrate to a DRPF quality iron ore product. The project, leveraging the rare purity of our resources, positions our Company to participate in the accelerating transition in the steel industry to reduce emissions, and offers the opportunity to generate significant returns on investments while creating additional positive impact with quality jobs for the region.”

Champion, through its subsidiary Quebec Iron Ore Inc., owns and operates the Bloom Lake Mining Complex, located on the south end of the Labrador Trough, approximately 13 km north of Fermont, Québec. Bloom Lake is an open-pit operation with two concentrators that primarily source energy from renewable hydroelectric power.

In addition to Bloom Lake, Champion owns a portfolio of exploration and development projects in the Labrador Trough, including the Kamistiatusset project, located a few kilometres south-east of Bloom Lake, and the Consolidated Fire Lake North iron ore project, located approximately 40 km south of Bloom Lake.

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