PORT CARTIER, Que. — The Financial Times reports that ArcelorMittal, one of the world’s largest steelmakers, is considering selling the ore-hauling Cartier Railway and other transportation assets in far northeastern Quebec. The Luxembourg-based company is considering the sale in an effort to balance its books amid a global pandemic that has depressed the demand for steel.
ArcelorMittal declined to comment on the report. However, Financial Times reports that people close to the company have said it is also considering selling other pieces of infrastructure, like its seaport on the St. Lawrence River, that serves its Quebec mining operation at Mont-Wright. The Financial Times suggests that the company would retain the mining operation, which reportedly has another 30 years of life. The Cartier Railway was completed in 1960 and stretches 260 miles from Port Cartier to Mont-Wright. The railroad runs upwards of five ore trains per day, depending on demand.
The railroad became a railfan destination in the late 1990s and early 2000s when it became one of the last places in North America to see six-axle Alco and Montreal Locomotive Works products in heavy freight service. Many of the MLW locomotives — a mix of C636s, M636s, RS18s, and a single C630 — were replaced by General Electric locomotives in 2002. Today, a mix of GEs and EMDs operates on the railroad.
The mine and railroad were operated under the banner Quebec Cartier Mining until 2007 when it was purchased by ArcelorMittal.