New IOC plans will rip up Lab West ski trails

The latest plan for expansion of the Iron Ore Company of Canada in western Labrador would put a new iron pit closer to town.
A cloud of dust rises up near Smokey Mountain in Labrador City. IOc is blasting in the area, searching for more iron. (CBC)

The latest plan for expansion of the Iron Ore Company of Canada in western Labrador would put a new iron pit closer to town.

According to IOC, there is about 900 million tonnes of iron ore sitting behind Smokey Mountain outside Labrador City, and they will need a new pit to access it.

However, the proposed location for the new pit, Wabush 3, is the same spot where a portion of the mountain's ski trails sit.

If plans for the expansion are approved, those trails will likely disappear.

Gerry Rideout says the ski club has had a good relationship with IOC. (CBC)

Gerry Rideout, president of the Menihek Nordic Ski Club, said it's likely there will be about 15 kilometres of trails lost.

Rideout said the club has had good communication with IOC on the matter.

"IOC's more than willing to talk about that, and hopefully it will all come out in a win-win situation when the mines are going to be developed," Rideout said.

Rideout said expansion in a mining community should always be expected and there's been a level of anticipation for some time.

"Wabush 3 has been in the background here for years [and] we've been lucky enough to have been up her 35 years with the trail system and co-existing with the iron mines," he said.

The company still needs to get a provincial environmental assessment of the new pit before it can move forward.

The process will include comments from the public, and with a popular recreation area, a new health care centre and a college campus nearby, it's something the community will likely want to have a say in.

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