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Federal Government grant $5 million to develop Pointe-Noire dock at Port of Sept-Iles

SEPT-ÎLES, February 19, 2010 – The Port of Sept-Îles is pleased to announce today the signing of an agreement with the federal government to develop the Pointe-Noire dock. The sum of $5 million was granted through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, which provides funding to build or renovate provincial, municipal, and local infrastructure. The announcement was made in the presence of the Honourable John Baird, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, as well as mining company representatives and other dignitaries from the Sept-Îles and Port-Cartier regions.

This development project at the Pointe-Noire dock represents a $10 million investment and will consist mainly of expanding dock 31 with a storage area and marine infrastructure in order to begin shipping operations for Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Ltd., which plans to ship 8 million tons annually. The project received environmental authorization last week and will begin immediately. It is scheduled for completion in late 2010.

The Pointe-Noire dock was acquired from Wabush Mines in 1998. Over the last ten years, the Port of Sept-Îles has invested some $20 million in the structure. This new funding will provide greater berthing capacity at the Pointe-Noire dock and make use of the land behind it to create a maritime transshipment center for bulk cargo.

“This funding will have a major multiplier effect for everyone involved,” stated Port of Sept-Îles CEO Pierre D. Gagnon. “In addition to attracting an equal sum in private investments, the project will allow us to triple the volume of activity at the Pointe-Noire dock at a time when our iron mining industry is booming.”

“The arrival of new mining companies in our region requires that we increase our capacity in order to meet their shipping needs. Today’s announcement clearly indicates that the government is listening to the growing needs of our community and our iron industry, and for that we are very grateful,” added Port of Sept-Îles Chair of the Board Carol Soucy.

With a full range of high-performance equipment, the Port of Sept-Îles is one of North America’s leading iron ore ports and will now become Canada’s second largest in terms of annual volume handled, with over 35 million tons.

Sept-Iles’s port facilities play a vital and strategic role in the operation of a number of businesses from the region’s primary sector. The Port’s annual economic impact is estimated at nearly $1 billion, with some 4,000 direct and indirect jobs. Port activity at the Port of Sept-Îles therefore remains a significant source of wealth creation in Quebec and Canada.