Champion Iron & CAT to team up at Quebec iron ore mine

CAT drill rig at Champion Iron's Bloom Lake mine in Quebec

Iron ore exploration and development company, Champion Iron, has signed a letter of intent with Caterpillar Inc. This letter outlines Champion Iron’s intention to apply artificial intelligence-based technologies to CAT equipment at their flagship asset, Quebec’s Bloom Lake mine.

Moreover, the project looks to progressively implement a remote-controlled, semi-autonomous and fully autonomous CAT electric drilling fleet. The mine will utilize the technologies engineered, designed, and/or integrated by Caterpillar.

Most importantly, the goal of this project is to optimize Bloom Lake’s operational productivity, while reducing energy consumption.

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.”

CAT’s Minestar

To reach this goal, Champion Iron and Caterpillar plan to utilize CAT’s MineStar™ at the Bloom Lake mine.

Minestar is a suite of technology offerings. It has the ability to track, monitor, automate and manage the assets of the mine. Also, it includes surface technologies, underground technologies as well as Minestar Edge; a platform designed to augment the CAT MineStar suite and align with the way many mining operations manage their businesses.

Bloom Lake iron ore mine

Champion Iron acquired the Bloom Lake mining complex in April of 2016 from Cliffs Natural Resources for $10.5 million. Now, it owns and operates the mining complex through its subsidiary, Quebec Iron Ore Inc.

Bloom Lake is an open-pit, truck and shovel operation located approximately 13km north of Fermont, Quebec. It ships iron ore concentrate from the site, by rail, to a ship loading port in Sept-Îles, Québec.