July 30. 2013. First sea lift of 2013 brings much anticipated supplies to Mary River

The company has welcomed the first sea lift vessel of the year at Milne Inlet on Baffin Island. The arrival of a sea lift is a very exciting event on Baffin Island as supplies are normally only available by air and/or annual sealifts. The cargo deposited at Milne was met with much enthusiasm as this milestone event marked the beginning of the construction phase of the approved Mary River Project. Employees started unloading the materials, on July 25 2013. An additional seven shipments of materials and equipment is anticipated to arrive over the next 12 weeks. The Mary River project is an iron ore project, currently under construction on North Baffin Island in the Qikqtani Region of Nunavut. It is one of the largest and richest undeveloped iron ore projects in the world and involves the construction, and operation of an open pit mine. One of the challenges of building a mine in such a remote location – 71.2 degrees north by 79.35 degrees west – is that all the supplies need to be shipped and the shipping period at Milne Inlet is limited to three months a year from July 25 to October 5. So right now, with the mine construction starting, there is a growing number of workers, many of whom are staying in temporary accommodations until they complete the building that will house future site workers. Some of the infrastructure to be built includes laydown areas, camp pads, accommodations, and maintenance shops at both the Mary River and Milne Inlet sites. In order to unload the cargo in a remote area without any infrastructure, the vessel anchors nearby and then uses its cranes to load material into small barges in the water. The cargo is lifted off the ship and landed on the barges moored alongside. The tugs then push the barges to the shore and beach them. Front-end loaders install ramps and offload the cargo from the barge to above the high tide line. Rolling equipment is rolled off the barge down the ramp. The barges are then shuttled back and forth until all cargo is ashore. From the Milne Inlet storage area, the cargo will be dispatched and transported to its final destination. Some of the first cargo will stay at Milne Inlet, and some will be transported to Mary River by tote road, a distance of 100 kilometres.
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