This week's Blue Box speaker is Dr. David Liverman, a senior geologist with the Geological Survey of Newfoundland and Labrador, and an adjunct professor in the Geography Department. He will be speaking on "The Labrador Trough - iron ore, mines and development pressures" on Friday, November 23 at 3 pm in SN-2025.
Iron ore is, after oil, the second most valuable global commodity traded. It has made an important contribution to the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador for over 60 years. The global demand for iron ore, and export/import patterns are changing rapidly, largely in response to rapid economic growth in China.
The provincial iron ore industry, stable for many years, is poised for a rapid expansion that could see production double or triple in the next decade. Such rapid expansion could bring huge economic benefits, but would also result in challenges for all levels of government. Western Labrador is already experiencing pressure on municipal infrastructure, housing, and transportation. Iron ore is comparatively easy to find, and is present in many parts of the world. Projects that go forward tend to be in areas where supporting infrastructure (housing, railways, power, ports) is in place. Understanding of the drivers and geography of the world iron ore commodity market helps inform planning and policy decisions. The future development of western Labrador will be closely tied to the price of iron ore, which itself is tied to economic growth in China.