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Raglan Mine’s New Icebreaking Bulk Carrier is Named

Author: Glencore Canada | Date: 15/11/2019

In the fall of 2020, Raglan Mine expects delivery of a new icebreaking bulk carrier, a ship crucial to their Arctic operations. While the team is eager to receive this icebreaker (it is currently being fabricated in Japan), a naming contest giving the vessel the name MV Arvik I, which exemplifies Inuit culture, further heightened anticipation of its arrival.

This new vessel will replace Raglan Mine’s current icebreaking bulk carrier, the MV Arctic, which was built in 1978 and specifically designed to carry oil and ore, and which has been supporting Raglan Mine’s operation since 1998.

The MV Arctic docks at Deception Bay where it picks up nickel-copper concentrate to be shipped to Quebec City where it is then taken by rail to Glencore’s Smelter in Sudbury, Ontario.

Details of the naming contest

The naming contest involved a committee comprised of members of the local Inuit communities nearby Raglan Mine’s operation, Fednav (Canada’s largest ocean-going, dry-bulk ship-owning and chartering group, which was contracted to provide and operate the ship), and Raglan Mine.

The committee aimed to generate a sense of pride and belonging for the Inuit, Raglan Mine employees, as well as Fednav employees. More than 165 names were submitted and participants were required to make submissions in English, French or Inuktitut that were accompanied with a story or legend, or support the submission with a drawing. In the end, the name “Arvik I” was selected unanimously.

The Committee made sure to meet all considerations: to have a strong and powerful name to honour Inuit culture and enhance the pride of the Nunavimmiut in the region, to honour the legacy of the MV Arctic, and ensure that the vessel name remain simple, neutral and aligned with Raglan Mine’s brand.

Since two participants submitted the name “Arvik,” there were two official winners of the contest – one employee from Raglan Mine and another from Anglo-Eastern, a seafaring company hired by Fednav to operate the vessel.

Arvik means “bowhead whale” in Inuktitut. The bowhead whale has an important place in the food traditions of Nunavimmiut, characterized by mutual aid and sharing. Bowheads are able to use their large reinforced skulls and powerful bodies to break through ice 20 centimetres thick.

Two employees – one from Raglan Mine and one from Anglo-Eastern (a seafaring company hired to operate the vessel) – are made aware that their submission “Arvik I” won the naming contest for the icebreaking bulk carrier, which is expected to be in operation for Raglan Mine in late 2020.

The role of the icebreaking bulk carrier

As Raglan Mine’s operations are remote and off-grid, sea travel provides critical connections enabling the flow of equipment and supplies to and from the site (air travel facilitates the movement of employees and contractors as well as other cargo).

Raglan Mine carries most of its goods and equipment to the mining site by sea, using an icebreaking bulk carrier. More than 1,400 containers are shipped to the site each year. In 2018 alone, the Logistics and Warehouse team received more than 66 million pounds of supplies.

The bowhead whale can measure more than 18 metres and weigh up to 100 tonnes. It is the biggest animal after the blue whale. It can live up to 200 years. It is the only whale living all year round in the Arctic. It can break ice up to 20 centimetres thick. It is a known symbol of strength and power in the Arctic.

Moreover, after ore is extracted from the mines at site, it is crushed and processed until it is a nickel-copper concentrate. This concentrate is trucked 100 kilometres to the seaport facilities at Deception Bay, where it is kept in a domed warehouse until it is shipped to Quebec City via the 27,000-metric tonne capacity MV Arctic

Not only does the icebreaking bulk carrier enable Raglan Mine to transport the concentrate to southern Quebec and channel to the site the essential equipment for its operations, it also offers the opportunity to carry equipment for the communities near its facilities. Indeed, when there is sufficient space aboard the MV Arctic, the team offers free transportation of various materials to the people of Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq.