Snow covered pit at IOC Operations in Labrador City, NL Canada

Iron Ore Company of Canada

Iron ore pellets & concentrate

Product

2,877

Employees

9.67Mt

Production (Rio Tinto share)

58.7%

Ownership

1949

Started

2023 figures

Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador

The Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) operations are integrated across a mine and processing plant in Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador; a port and stockpile in Sept-Iles, Quebec; and a 418 kilometre railway that joins these 2 parts of the operation.

IOC is a joint venture between Rio Tinto (58.7%), Mitsubishi (26.2%) and the Labrador Iron Ore Royalty Income Corporation (15.1%).

Decarbonising our operations at IOC

Steel-making currently contributes 8% of global carbon emissions. So at IOC, we’re working to reduce our operational footprint while producing iron ore that helps to reduce emissions as a feedstock for steel production.

At IOC, we produce high-grade, low-impurity iron ore – an essential raw material for new iron-making technologies, including the evolving green steel market.

The way we produce our iron ore also helps decarbonise our operations. IOC operates near hydroelectric power, meaning much of our energy use is renewable. We’re also electrifying our steam generation plant and exploring ways to repower our trucks and trains with more renewable fuel sources.

Research and development are a key part of our race to decarbonise too. We’re trialling a plasma burner in one of our furnaces – the first of its kind, which could help us eliminate heavy fuel oil (bunker-C) from the pelletizing process. Through lab-based trials, we are also researching ways to use cold-bonding technologies, and substituting coke breeze with organic carbon sources and other non-carbon-based fuels. And we’re collaborating with industry partners such as Salzgitter to use green hydrogen to work towards zero-carbon iron production.

  • Older pit at IOC

    Mines

    One mine in Labrador City with 5 operational pits with significant deposits for the supply of high-grade iron ore products
  • Truck convoy at IOC

    Processing

    Our processing centre includes a concentrator and a pellet plant allowing us to transform our ore into high grade iron ore products
  • Port facility at IOC

    Ports

    One port facility in Sept-Iles from where our products are shipped to customers around the world
  • Train running past meadow

    Rail network

    We operate a wholly-owned 418 km railway, the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway (QNS&L) that links our Labrador operations to our port facilities in Sept-Iles

Innovation at IOC

Our team continually innovates to improve safety and production, using tools such as data analytics, decision-making support, and automation to drive growth and productivity.

The fully integrated operation at IOC is supported by 2 operations centres in Labrador City and Sept-Iles that allows us to ensure our mine, processing operations, port and rail system work together efficiently to achieve maximum productivity.

The rail network is the link between the 2 parts of our operation and all of our rail traffic is managed in real time using state-of-the-art technology and the latest computing, railway communications and signalling protocol technologies.

The mining industry is continuing to grow and evolve, so effective utilisation of our assets is critical for us to remain competitive, reach our full potential and lay a solid foundation for our future.

We have recently added a concentrator, pellet plant and blast hole driller to the automated assets controlled from our Operations Centre in Labrador City. In 2023, we will also add automated dozers and excavators.

Research and development

Innovation is essential to remain competitive in a changing market. So we’ve established an evolving R&D portfolio at IOC that’s already achieved many advances.

We’ve used R&D to improve our iron ore recovery and production by upwards of 10%.

We’ve also formed close relationships with best-in-class universities, government labs, and startups to assess new technologies that can increase production while reducing operating costs. Our most recent partnerships include research and trials conducted with COREM, College of North Atlantic (CNA), and Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) to challenge current processes and make more informed and timely decisions.

IOC, Canada

Building a better future together

IOC works with our Indigenous partners to improve cultural understanding and increase inclusion and diversity. This has included initiatives such as our partnership in developing an online indigenous cultural awareness training package for all IOC employees. 

We engage, consult with and participate in events with the following Indigenous Peoples and communities on an ongoing basis in Labrador and Quebec:

  • Innu of Matimekush-Lac John (Quebec)
  • Innu of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam (Quebec)
  • Labrador Innu (Sheshatshiu and Natuashish, Labrador, as represented by Innu Nation)
  • Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach (Quebec)
  • NunatuKavut Community Council (Labrador)

These partnerships are supported and guided by impact and benefits agreements which provide a framework for increasing Indigenous participation in employment and procurement opportunities and for promoting educational, environmental, and cultural heritage activities. In 2014, IOC signed agreements with the Labrador Innu and NunatuKavut Community Council. Following this, agreements were signed with Innu of Matimekush-Lac John and Innu of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam in 2020, and the Naskapi Nation in 2023.

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Dispatchers

Our dispatchers have a full view and control of all rail traffic helping to support the safe, reliable and smooth running of our trains and in turn of our integrated operation.

Latest IOC releases

14 May 2024

Rio Tinto IOC gagne le Prix d’excellence environnementale de Vers le développement minier durable (VDMD)

SEPT-ÎLES, Canada – La Compagnie minière IOC de Rio Tinto a remporté le Prix d’excellence environnementale de Vers le développement minier durable (VDMD) pour ses contributions au Partenariat pour la restauration de sites abandonnés : nettoyer le Nitassinan. Cette initiative, entreprise en partenariat avec l’Institut de développement durable des Premières Nations du Québec et du Labrador (IDDPNQL)

14 May 2024

Rio Tinto IOC recognized with Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Environmental Excellence Award

SEPT-ILES, Quebec--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Rio Tinto’s Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC) has won the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Environmental Excellence Award for its contributions to the Abandoned Site Rehabilitation Partnership: Nitassinan Cleanup project. This collaborative initiative, undertaken in partnership with the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable Development Institute (

27 February 2024

Partenariat de Rio Tinto IOC et du gouvernement du Canada pour décarboner le traitement de minerai de fer au Labrador Ouest

WABUSH, Canada – Le gouvernement du Canada a accordé 18,1 millions de dollars canadiens de son Fonds pour une économie à faibles émissions de carbone à la Compagnie minière IOC de Rio Tinto afin de soutenir la décarbonation du traitement du minerai de fer dans ses opérations du Labrador Ouest.Ce financement permettra à IOC de réduire la quantité de mazout lourd utilisé dans la production de boulet

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IOC communities

IOC has a long tradition of community support and believes in building relationships with local communities and partners

Contact IOC

1 Retty Street
Sept-Îles Quebec G4R 3C7
Canada