Wabush

Wabush, Newfoundland and Labrador, incorporated as a town in 1967, population 1,906 (2016 census), 1,861 (2011 census). The town of Wabush is located in western Labrador, close to the Quebec border, 5 km south of Labrador City. It lies next to Wabush Lake, Little Wabush Lake and Jean Lake.



Settlement

The iron ore deposits of western Labrador were first identified in the late 1800s. Large-scale mining of the ore body did not take place until after the Second World War, however. In 1953, the Canadian Javelin Company purchased mineral rights in the area of the town, and a subsidiary, Wabush Mines Ltd., was created to develop a mine. Wabush Mines planned and developed the community of Wabush to house its employees.

Development

In 1960, a pilot plant opened, and in 1965 Wabush Mines’s Scully Mine officially opened. The ore was shipped south on the Quebec, North Shore and Labrador Railway. Wabush Mines was one of Labrador’s largest mining companies, with a capacity of more than 6 million tonnes of iron concentrate per year.

The Scully Mine was shut down in 2014 by its then-owner, Cliffs Natural Resources. Hundreds of people lost their jobs. However, in 2019, it reopened under new owners, Minnesota-based Tacora Resources.

The town’s economic base remains mining, but improved road, rail and air connections to the area have meant that the community is less tied to the health of the iron ore industry.