BAIE-COMEAU, QC, Jan. 30, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Baie-Comeau mayor Christine Brisson followed tradition tonight by serving up a speech at the Manicouagan Chamber of Commerce Mayor's Dinner, held every year at this time. In her address on the theme of "a shared vision for concerted action," the mayor, not surprisingly, revisited certain aspects of the budget forecast presented back in December. But more importantly, and with maps to back her words, she stressed the importance of a global vision for the city's economic development, highlighting the major thrusts of Baie-Comeau's development plans for the coming years.
The city would like to hinge its development on that of two projected sites.
The first site, a heavy industrial zone, would expand the city's existing industrial park by 500 hectares, enabling it to accommodate processing plants, an ore processing zone, a warehouse space, and a railway loading zone.
The second, an industrial port site spanning 223 hectares, would make it possible to build an ore storage area, another processing zone, and a deepwater ore dock able to accommodate Chinamax vessels.
At this second site, the construction of an ore transshipment center and a deepwater dock, an undeniable asset for a high-tonnage venture, would meet the demand of mining companies and dovetail with the goals of the Plan Nord.
Another development in the works is an approximately 10 km rail link between the two sites. The construction of a mineral line is another possibility.
"For several years now, mineral exploration has been in full swing north of Manicouagan," said the mayor. "The results so far clearly show that our hinterland holds incredible unexploited mining potential—much more than we could have first imagined. Numerous mining companies are already very actively engaged in mineral exploration activities in a large sector located within Baie-Comeau's zone of influence, and a number of the sites in this area hold more than enough potential to permit mining. In addition, companies from the Labrador Trough have clearly indicated that the Baie-Comeau and Manicouagan zone of influence is expanding to the northeast. All of this is clear proof that our area represents a realistic and feasible alternative for ore processing and shipment."
Pointing out that all the initiatives and plans identified fit right in with the Québec government's Plan Nord, Ms. Brisson also stressed that Baie-Comeau and Manicouagan have already been singled out for special consideration as part of this vast northern development program, since the region is part of the four high potential zones identified by the Québec government.
"As maritime and road hubs of central importance to the Plan Nord, Baie-Comeau and Manicouagan are ideally situated for the numerous mining projects under development," continued Ms. Brisson. "More specifically, Baie-Comeau offers real advantages with respect to infrastructure, including year-round access to a deepwater seaport, major industrial facilities, and suitable available land. Factor in the implementation of the Plan Nord and the global demand for ores such as iron, and it is clear that new mining developments are likely in the short term. Our competitive assets are real, and hold out genuine hope for a bright future."
The mayor concluded with another factor that further bolsters the vision of Baie-Comeau's development: "The challenges to our development are very specific: not only must we improve existing infrastructure, but also build new ones—for instance, to supply our region with natural gas—if we want to make sure our region's development proceeds unhindered."
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Jacques Comeau, Director
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