The Montreal-headquartered company took advantage of a higher iron price environment amid strong fundamentals to secure a doubling of its credit facility to US$400 million. Champion says it represents a conservative financial solution to fund the buildout that will double output to 15 million tonnes per annum over the next 18 months.
The company said Thursday given its $425.8 million cash on hand it now had in place the remaining C$512.6 million of the total $590 million capex to complete the expansion.
The Bloom Lake expansion has a calculated after-tax net present value, at an 8% discount, of $956 million and an internal rate of return of 33.4%. Capex can be paid back in 2.4 years.
The property is in Canada's so-called Labrador Trough, an area known for producing high-grade iron ore.
Champion subsidiary Quebec Iron Ore closed the $10.5 million acquisition from Cliffs Natural Resources in 2016. Cliffs paid a hefty $4.9 billion to Consolidated Thompson for the mine back in 2011.
Bloom Lake is about 13km north of Fermont, Newfoundland, and 10km north of ArcelorMittal Canada's Mont Wright complex, Canada's most extensive iron ore mining operation. ArcelorMittal has also flagged its North American assets
The current Bloom Lake operation has a nameplate capacity of 7.4Mtpa and produces a 66.2% iron ore concentrate which is said to have low contaminant levels. The grade attracts a premium to the 62% Fe benchmark, which is up more than 30% in the year to date at about US$120/t.