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Quebec government opens vault for mining project

Chibougamau iron, vanadium deposit attracts $248 million in provincial funding
BlackRock 2
(BlackRock Metals photo)

The Quebec government is dropping a combined $248 million to assist a major mining project, processing plant and port improvements in the central part of the province.

The provincial government is providing $185 million in financial assistance to BlackRock Metals of Montreal to support the development of an open-pit mine of iron, vanadium and titanium near Chibougamau in the Nord-du-Québec region.

The funding is earmarked toward setting up a secondary processing plant in the Grande-Anse section of the industrial port area of Saguenay.

BlackRock's nearly $1.3-billion project will create more than 800 jobs during construction of the mine and a mill.

The mine operation will employ 200 with the processing plant putting 300 to work.

A breakdown of the provincial funding is an $85-million equity investment from the Capital Mines Hydrocarbures Fund, a $1-billion fund that gives the government an equity stake in companies that mine and process minerals in the province; a $50-million loan from Investissement Québec, and another $50-million loan granted by Ressources Québec.

Tacked onto that is an additional $63 million in government support to the Saguenay Port Authority for energy infrastructure which could attract new business to the port.

The company's namesake BlackRock project covers 74 square kilometres and is fully permitted for mining. The deposit projects to about 80 years of mine life.

Vanadium is a metal primarily used to make steel stronger, tougher and lighter. Battery technology is rapidly emerging as a new use for vanadium.

"Our government is proud to promote the success of this major BlackRock Metals investment project, which will enhance the mining potential of the Nord-du-Québec region and strengthen Québec's expertise in second-stage ore processing in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean," said Minister of the Economy, Science and Innovation Dominique Anglade in a statement.

"This is a major project creating wealth and jobs in the mining sector for Nord-de-Québec and Chibougamau in particular, since the company plans to build an open pit iron, vanadium mine. and titanium," said Ungava MP Jean Boucher. "In addition to the jobs created during the construction phase, 200 quality permanent jobs will be created for the operation of this mine. "

"Our government is pleased to support, through the Capital Mines Hydrocarbures fund, projects such as that of BlackRock Metals, which contribute to the development of Québec's mining sector," said Energy and Natural Resources Minister Pierre Moreau. "Such projects will, I am sure, help ensure the success of Plan Nord, which will showcase the full potential of our northern territory. "

"Investissement Québec, through its subsidiary Ressources Québec, strives to support mining projects such as BlackRock Metals, which have good earnings prospects and are structuring for the Québec economy," said Investissement Québec CEO Pierre Gabriel Côté. "Investissement Québec is proud to participate in the economic development of the regions of Quebec and contribute to the growth of a young mining company here. "