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Labrador West residents wondering about Rio Tinto’s plans for IOC

Ron Thomas, president of local 5795 of the Steelworkers Union outside the union hall in Labrador City.
Ron Thomas, President of USW local 5795, says he plans to keep a close eye on the situation. - Photo by Mike Power

News out of London has reports of Rio Tinto considering a public listing of the IOC mine in Labrador City

A news release from Reuters out of London, England says that Rio Tinto is considering a public listing of the Iron Ore Company (IOC) of Canada mine in Labrador City.

The Aurora contacted IOC’s St. John’s office and was referred to Rio Tinto.

A reply from Matthew Klar, Rio Tinto’s chief advisor for media relations for Canada and Americas, said simply, “We don’t have any comment.”

“I have little information about the news out of London, but I am interested in this and plan to keep a close eye on what may happen,” said Ron Thomas, president of USW local 5795, who represent the majority of IOC workers in Labrador West.

Thomas said their contract is with IOC, and that over the years that company has had different owners. Rio Tinto has owned the company for 18 years, having bought it from the previous owner North.

Rio Tinto owns 59 per cent of IOC, 26 per cent is owned by Mitsubishi of Japan and 15 per cent by Labrador Iron Ore Royalty.

Thomas says Rio Tinto tried to sell IOC in 2012, but nobody offered what was reported to be a price tag close to $4 billion.

Less than 10 years ago, Iron ore soared to close to $200 a ton, and a couple of years ago were below $50 a ton. After those wild fluctuations IOC and other mining companies focused on efficiencies that would put them in a better position when there were major changes in price.

Recently ore has been selling close to $70 a ton, a price companies say with recent efficiencies make them profitable.

Meanwhile, many in Labrador West wait with anticipation to see what the most recent news out of London could mean for them.

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