February 2008

IOC tailings management process to restore Wabush Lake

Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) recently announced a new tailings management process aimed at restoring Wabush Lake to its natural colour and increasing the productive capacity of the fish population.

These tailings consist of waste silica, quartz particles and fine-grained ore solids that are suspended in the lake water and are unable to be recovered within the existing concentration process. Iron-stained quartz is responsible for the reddish hue that is produced when tailings come into contact with water.

IOC will employ flocculation technology, which causes these tailings to stick to flocks, forming larger flake-like particles which, in turn, settle to the bottom of the lake, thereby controlling their dispersion.

“The project will allow for the safe and effective containment of tailings and eliminate the red colour of Wabush Lake,” stated Terence Bowles, IOC president and CEO, at a press conference and commissioning ceremony held in Labrador City. “We are returning the lake to a quality that is on par with other Labrador lake systems.” 

Bowles added that IOC’s tailings management program is designed to leave a minimum footprint on Wabush Lake and goes beyond government requirements to meet community expectations.

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