MONTRÉAL – Champion Iron Limited
is pleased to announce that it has signed a Letter of Intent with Caterpillar Inc. to implement artificial intelligence based Advanced Drilling Technologies (the “Technologies”) on Cat equipment at its Bloom Lake Mine (“Bloom Lake”).
The project will progressively implement a remote-controlled, semi-autonomous and fully autonomous Cat electric drilling fleet, utilizing the Technologies engineered, designed, and/or integrated by Caterpillar. With Champion contributing its experienced workforce, and Caterpillar’s independent dealer, Toromont Cat, its aftermarket support, the collaboration will aim to optimize Bloom Lake’s operational productivity and reduce energy consumption, while demonstrating the capabilities of Caterpillar’s advanced drilling technologies. A Drill-to-Mill strategy (“D2M”) is expected to be deployed based on a series of tightly integrated systems, driven by Cat® MineStar™ solutions, designed to optimize the drilling, loading and hauling processes. D2M is focused on delivering improved milling performance by supplying optimized mill feed, while contending with dynamic operational conditions.
Using real-time data, artificial intelligence and analytics, Caterpillar’s integrated technology will support Champion’s ability to assess the status of machines, technologies, and material to enable more timely and accurate operational decisions and consistent execution across Champion’s entire mining value chain. The goal of the collaborative effort will be to deliver a fully integrated drill-to-mill technology solution powered by data connectivity and advanced analytics to ultimately improve workflow between the mine and plant, providing a more efficient end-to-end enterprise process that delivers more consistent raw material for final product specification requirements.
Champion’s CEO, Mr. David Cataford said, “We are honoured to collaborate with industry leaders like Caterpillar and Toromont Cat, and are confident that our workforce’s proven operational expertise and ingenuity will be an asset in deploying these technologies. The aim and vision of improving mining practices and ultimately reducing waste and energy use is the foundation of this collaboration. The entire Bloom Lake team has already demonstrated its ability to operate at a consistently high level, since commissioning the mine in 2018. In doing so, we have continuously strived to improve operations utilizing the best existing and new prospective mining technologies. Drill-to-mill aligns with our core value of respecting the land that we exploit, as it will enable us to responsibly extract non-renewable resources using the best means possible.”
About Champion Iron Limited
The Company, 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 truck and shovel operation with a concentrator, and it ships iron ore concentrate from the site by rail, initially on the Bloom Lake Railway, to a ship loading port in Sept-Îles, Québec. The Bloom Lake Phase I plant has a nameplate capacity of 7.4 Mtpa and produces a high-grade 66.2% Fe iron ore concentrate with low contaminant levels, which has proven to attract a premium to the Platts IODEX 62% Fe iron ore benchmark. In addition to the partially completed Bloom Lake Phase II expansion project, Champion also controls a portfolio of exploration and development projects in the Labrador Trough, including the Kamistiatusset iron ore 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. The Company sells its iron ore concentrate globally, including to customers in China, Japan, the Middle East, Europe, South Korea, India and Canada.