Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited
TSX : CLM

Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited

March 18, 2010 06:00 ET

Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Announces Moving Towards Commercial Production as Part of the Year End Report Filed Today

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 18, 2010) - Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Ltd. (TSX:CLM) ("CLM" or the "Corporation", or "Consolidated Thompson") is pleased to announce the following highlights from its audited annual consolidated financial statements and MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2009 that were filed on our web site at www.consolidatedthompson.com and on SEDAR:

  • Mine site development is near final completion and production has already begun. First shipments of ore from the port at Pointe-Noire will commence in May 2010. As of December 31, 2009, a total of $463 million had been spent on the development of the Bloom Lake mine.

  • CLM commenced rapid development of the railroad and port infrastructures in 2009. The railroad between the mine site to Wabush and the port facilities in Sept-Iles are on schedule to be completed in April 2010. As of December 31, 2009, a total of $112 million had been spent on this infrastructure.

  • As of December 31, 2009, the Corporation had total cash resources of $185 million.

  • There was a number of successful equity financings in 2009. The proceeds were used to fund the costs of completing the construction of the Bloom Lake project and for general corporate purposes:
    • In April 2009, the Corporation closed a public offering of $92.6 million;
    • In July 2009, the Corporation closed a strategic investment by WISCO of US$ 240 million in CLM for 19.9% of the issued and outstanding CLM shares post- transaction and a 25% interest in a partnership established between CLM and WISCO to own and develop the Bloom Lake property; and
    • In September 2009, the Corporation closed a private placement of $144.1 million.

  • Other 2009 milestones included:
    • As part of the strategic investment by WISCO in July 2009, WISCO also agreed to acquire 4 million tonnes of concentrate per year at market value for the life of the mine;
    • In August 2009, the Corporation announced the results of its drilling campaigns, spread over 2007 to 2009 on its Lamêlée property which increased its resources to 642 million tonnes. When added to the indicated resources of 293 million tonnes of the Peppler property, this brings the total indicated resources (OIF- oxide iron formation) of the whole Lamêlée-Peppler Iron properties, as part of 2008 Quinto acquisition, to 935 million tonnes. An updated NI 43-101 technical report has been produced on this resource; and
    • In October 2009, the Corporation signed a long term lease with Port of Sept-Iles for the construction of a lay down area and the utilization of the port docking facilities at Pointe-Noire.

  • Announcements subsequent to the end of the 2009 financial year:
    • In January 2010, the Corporation announced the closing of two long term debt facilities totalling US$ 150 million. One is a US$ 50 million unsecured 5 year credit facility carrying a fixed 5% annual interest rate with SK Networks, the third largest industrial conglomerate of Korea. At the same time the Corporation entered into a 10-year off-take agreement of 1 million tonnes per year at market price. The second debt facility is a US$ 100 million senior secured bonds with Marret Asset Management Inc; and
    • In February 2010, the Corporation announced the signing with Arnaud Railway Corporation, a subsidiary of Wabush Mines, of a ten-year rail transportation agreement to haul the iron ore concentrate from Arnaud junction, where the railway connects to the QNS&L railway, to our offloading facilities located on the leased land from the Port of Sept-Iles at Pointe-Noire.

"We are very proud of the accomplishments of 2009. It was yet another year fulfilled with major milestones in the development of the Bloom Lake project." declared Richard Quesnel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Thompson. "In light of the challenging economic conditions worldwide, we successfully raised the necessary funds to ensure the completion of the construction and thereby deliver a world class facility. With the signing of the remaining transportation and lease agreements, we are on target to start loading our clients' vessels in May 2010 and are very excited with the future prospects"

"Consolidated Thompson is about to move from being a builder to an operator of a world class iron ore mine. With iron ore demand and price increasing, our timing as a new entrant to the industry and the vibrant export market is very promising" said Brian V. Tobin, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Mr. Brian V. Tobin, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Richard Quesnel, President and Chief Executive Officer and Mr. François Laurin, Chief Financial Officer of the Corporation invite investors, financial analysts and journalists to take part in a conference call the same day to discuss the update on the Bloom Lake project.

Thursday, March 18 at 10.00 A.M.
Dial 514-861-2255 or
      866-696-5910 for North America or
      800-8989-6336 for International

Participant access code: 4743166 followed by #
Name of conference: Consolidated Thompson

The archived call will be available at 514-861-2272 or 800-408-3053, access code 4512787 followed by #, until April 15th, 2010 midnight or on our website at www.consolidatedthompson.com.

Information on Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited

Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited is a development and exploration mining company. The Company is presently developing at the expected initial rate of 8.0 million tonnes per year of its Bloom Lake world class iron ore deposit located in the Quebec/Labrador trough. The quality and size of the Bloom Lake and Peppler/Lamêlée deposits have the potential to expand and advance these projects and develop other opportunities in the iron ore industry.

Caution regarding forward-looking statement

Except for statements of historical fact relating to the Company, certain information contained herein constitutes ''forward-looking information'' under Canadian securities legislation. Forward- looking information includes, but is not limited to, statements with respect to receipt of all necessary approvals; capital required to complete the development of the Bloom Lake mine and timing of such requirements; the conclusions, parameters and assumptions underlying current mine plans, the development potential and timetable of bloom Lake project; capital and operating expenditures; iron ore prices; permitting time lines and permitting; government regulation of mining operations; environmental risks and the impact of management appointments; mineral reserve and resource estimates; the ability to realize estimated mineral reserves and to convert mineral resources into mineral reserves; terms and costs of future exploration; mineralization projections; the parameters and assumptions underlying the mineral resource estimates. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as ''plans'', ''expects'' or ''does not expect'', ''is expected'', ''budget'', ''scheduled'', ''estimates'', ''forecasts'', ''intends'', ''anticipates'' or ''does not anticipate'', or ''believes'', or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results ''may'', ''could'', ''would'', ''might'' or ''will be taken'', ''occur'' or ''be achieved''. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management as of the date such statements are made. Estimates regarding the anticipated timing, amount and cost of mining at the Bloom Lake Project are based on assumptions underlying mineral reserve and mineral resource estimates and the realization of such estimates as are set out in CLM's feasibility study. Capital and operating cost estimates are based on extensive research of the Company, purchase orders placed by the Company to date, recent estimates of construction and mining costs and other factors that are set out in CLM's feasibility study. Production estimates are based on mine plans and production schedules, which have been developed by the Company's personnel and independent consultants. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of Consolidated Thompson to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to risks described in the annual information form of the Company posted under the profile of the Company on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although management of Consolidated Thompson has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Consolidated Thompson does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws. 

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