BELLEDUNE (GNB) – Officials exploring the opportunity for an iron plant in northern New Brunswick participated in a site tour of the Port of Belledune and NB Power’s Belledune Generating Station.

“Your government is excited to have officials from Maritime Iron and POSCO join us today in Belledune,” said Economic Development Minister Francine Landry. “This is an important economic development opportunity. I especially thank the representatives from POSCO for making the long journey here from South Korea to allow us to showcase first-hand the Port of Belledune and the NB Power generating station.”

Landry spoke on behalf of Energy and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet.

POSCO is the world’s fourth-largest steel producer.

The provincial government recently announced a partnership to explore the feasibility of an iron production facility in Belledune to produce 1.5 million tonnes of iron annually. NB Power and Maritime Iron are looking at possible opportunities involving the proposed plant and the existing Belledune Generating Station.

The government estimates the project would spur more than $1 billion of investment and create about 1,000 jobs during construction of the facility. Once complete, the facility would create about 200 permanent jobs. Following feasibility studies and environmental assessments, Maritime Iron is targeting a construction start in 2019, with first production expected by 2022.

“We are pleased to be here today to see all that the area has to offer,” said Greg McKenzie, Maritime Iron’s executive chairman. “Thanks to the existing infrastructure of the port and the generating station, this is a strategic location for Maritime Iron. Today’s visit is an important step towards realizing this project which would lead to investment and employment for this region.”