The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Kami iron ore mine project in Labrador takes step forward with benefits deal

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Newfoundland and Labrador government says construction is expected to begin this summer on the Kami iron ore mine now that a benefits agreement has been completed.

Premier Tom Marshall says the agreement will ensure people in the province reap the industrial and employment benefits from the $1.3-billion project in western Labrador.

The government says residents of the province will receive top consideration for jobs during all phases of the project.

The government also says the benefits agreement requires at least 15 per cent of the skilled trades workforce to consist of apprentices during construction, and that has to rise to 25 per cent when the mine is operational.

Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley says the open-pit iron ore mine will create 800 direct jobs at the peak of construction and at least 400 when in operation.

The project, which received federal and provincial environmental approval earlier this year, is 75 per cent owned by Alderon Iron Ore (TSX:ADV) and 25 per cent by Hebei Iron and Steel of China.

"The benefits agreement for the Kami iron ore project is great news for Labrador and raises the bar for operators looking to do business in the province," Marshall said in a news release.

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