Consolidated Thompson gets the approval to operate the Bloom Lake iron mine



    MONTREAL, March 6 /CNW Telbec/ - In the presence of Claude Béchard,
Québec's Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Richard Quesnel,
President and Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines
Ltd., today announced that, after receiving the necessary government
authorizations, the Company is ready to launch the Bloom Lake iron mine, which
is the first mining project to be initiated on the North Shore of Québec in 34
years. This project will represent an investment of nearly half a billion
dollars. Located 13 kilometres northwest of the town of Fermont, the new
open-pit mine will produce seven megatonnes of high-quality iron concentrate
per year. The Company intends to operate the mine for a period of 34 years.
    According to Quesnel: "We are delighted to have reached this significant
milestone for our company. The mine will begin production in the second
quarter of 2009. The iron market is known to be cyclical, and the prospects
for the next few years are very encouraging. Very strong demand for our
product and rising prices on world markets make this an exceptionally good
time to launch our project."

    A project with global implications

    Consolidated Thompson recently signed a long-term agreement with a
Chinese partner, Worldlink Resources Ltd. (WL), for the sale of seven
megatonnes of iron ore, which represents its entire yearly production. Founded
in China in 2000, Worldlink Resources Ltd. is an integrated commercial company
that imports and exports iron ore, coal, and other bulk solids; operates a
joint venture that includes two Chinese steel plants; and owns a portion of
two port terminals, one in China and one in Brazil. The agreement comes at a
time when the demand for steel, the principal component of which is iron ore,
has grown by 33% in China over the last three years. The price of this metal
remains high.
    "The launch of the Bloom Lake iron mine is perfectly timed for the
international metal resources market, a sector that has been growing very
rapidly, mainly due to the impact of China's vigorous economy and its high
level of demand for steel," Quesnel pointed out.

    A project with long-term spin-offs for the North Shore region

    The Bloom Lake project represents an initial investment on the order of
$410 million. The new mine will produce long-term spin-offs for the whole
North Shore region. Construction alone will generate approximately 400 jobs,
and 250 direct jobs will be created later, when the mine begins production.
Local and regional manpower, both Native and non-Native, will be called upon
to contribute to the success of this project.
    "The participation of the socioeconomic representatives of the region was
decisive in getting our project established, and we are pleased that we are
now able to announce a project that will contribute to the development of the
region, generating jobs and long-term spin-offs," said Quesnel.
    Consolidated Thompson started preliminary development work at its Bloom
Lake property in the fall, and is already launching activities aimed at
preparing the site for future exploitation of this mining claim. These
activities include site clearing, building access and service roads, and
installing a 34.5 kV power transmission line. Work will begin this week on
excavating the future mining site and building the ore concentrator.

    About Consolidated Thompson

    Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Ltd. is a Canadian corporation that is
devoted to exploring, developing, and mining mineral deposits. The company has
approximately 81.4 million shares outstanding, and trades on the Toronto Stock
Exchange under the symbol "CLM".
    For more information, visit www.consolidatedthompson.com.


    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/




For further information:

For further information: Media relations: Denise Courteau, (514)
737-7441 or (514) 973-7441; Julian Bharti, Business Development Manager, (416)
930-8558; Source: Richard Quesnel, President and CEO, Consolidated Thompson

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