An open-pit mine in northwestern Labrador has an uncertain future, in large part because of the quality of the ore at the James operation of Labrador Iron Mines (LIM).

James mine

Labrador Iron Mines has been operating the open-pit James Mine since 2011. (LIM)

President Rod Cooper said the seasonal operation had a disappointing third quarter, with the company reporting a net loss of $31.3 million.

"Yet again, we had to report a loss," Cooper told CBC News.

"Our loss of revenue there was directly attributable to the lower quality of ore at the end of the mine life."

LIM has laid off 30 of its 64 full-time employees.

The James mine is located about 3 km near Schefferville, Que., near the border with Labrador.

Labrador Iron Mines started production there in 2011, with production peaking each summer when the payroll climbs to about 400 workers.

Each year, though, has been dogged with problems, and the company has had to look for investors.

"This is a little worse than past years, of course. In previous years, we haven't had workforce reduction in our core workforce," he said.

Cooper said he is still cautiously optimistic that LIM will be able to attract external financing and reopen the James mine later this year.

Labrador Iron Mines reported its latest quarterly loss in the wake of a decision by Cliffs Natural Resources to idle its Wabush Mines operation.