An impressive journey
The history of ArcelorMittal Mining Canada G.P. and ArcelorMittal Infrastructure Canada G.P. started on January 26, 1957, when the United States Steel Corporation (US Steel) founded Québec Cartier Mining Company to guarantee the supply of iron ore concentrate.
The multinational’s initial project cost 325 million $ with the help of some 9,000 workers from all over the world. It constructed the Lac-Jeannine mining site and town of Gagnon, a hydroelectric power station on the Hart-Jaune River, a railroad, port and developed the town of Port-Cartier. The first load of iron ore concentrate took to the sea in June 1961.
A decade of development
In the first half of the Seventies, a 650 million $ investment went into a second mining complex at Mont-Wright, a third town nearby – Fermont – and the upgrading of existing facilities. Inaugural blasting of the Mont-Wright crest took place in 1974 and the production of concentrate started the following year.
Québec Cartier then embarked on the Québec iron and steel project which included opening the Fire Lake mine and the setup of a plant for the transformation of iron oxide concentrate pellets in Port-Cartier – a new product sought after by modern steel plants. The first pellets were produced in November 1977.
Access to the international market between two crises
Between 1979 and 1985, the company faced one of the worst crises experienced by the iron and steel market, obliging it to participate in rationalisation of the iron industry on the Northern Shore of Québec, closing facilities in Lac-Jeannine, the town of Gagnon and the Fire Lake mine. Starting on January 1, 1985, Québec Cartier managed the pellet plant it acquired in 1996.
US Steel remained Québec Cartier’s only customer for close to 30 years. Sold to a consortium (Dofasco, Caemi and Mitsui) in 1989, the mining company entered the global market and from then on faced increasingly tough competition.
In the early Noughties, another major crisis swept through the iron and steel market. In 2003, Investissement Québec agreed to become a temporary shareholder of the company, which guaranteed continued operation of Mont-Wright.
Arrival in the ArcelorMittal family
In February 2006, Arcelor S.A., the global leader in steel, acquired close to 90% of the shares of Dofasco, at the time the sole owner of Québec Cartier. Barely a few months later, in June, Arcelor and Mittal Steel Company NV announced that an agreement had been established to group the activities of the two companies and create the world’s largest iron and steel company: ArcelorMittal.
The Québec Cartier Mining Company changed its name and became officially known as ArcelorMittal Mines Canada on May 29, 2008. It was its official entry into the ArcelorMittal Group that asserted its aim to achieve 75 to 85% self-sufficiency in iron ore products before 2015.
Thanks to this affiliation, ArcelorMittal Mines Canada was able to catch a glimpse of extensive growth possibilities. The first was materialised by the major expansion announced in May 2011, to step up the annual production of concentrate from 16 to 24 million tons. After two years’ intensive work on the Mont-Wright mining site, the railroad and port facilities, the volume of concentrate rose steadily.
A new partner, two business units
On January 1, 2013, ArcelorMittal Mines Canada announced the acquisition of a minority interest by the POSCO consortium (South Korean steel plant) and China Steel Corporation. With 15% of the shares, the new partners guaranteed themselves a supply of top-quality iron ore.
ArcelorMittal remains the majority shareholder with 85% and continues to manage the operation. It was in an operating efficiency perspective that it subdivided ArcelorMittal Mines Canada into two separate but complementary businesses:
In nearly 60 years, the company has constructed two mining complexes, one industrial complex, over 500 kilometers of railroad and three towns. Its production is in excess of 600 million metric tons of concentrate and 250 million metric tons of pellets.
Together AMEC and AMIC constitute the largest employer on the Northern Shore with some 2,300 employees and is the cornerstone of the regional and Québec economy.