American investor Macy Block is poised to cash in on an investment in Quebec’s mining and industrial development boom that goes back more than half a century.
The Dublin-Ohio based Block, who is in his Eighties, was one of the first to see the strategic promise of Quebec’s Sept-Îles port, an all-weather harbor situated at the mouth of the St. Lawrence that is currently in the midst of a $200-million port expansion project in order to handle today’s giant ore ships.
Block’s company, Seven Islands Development Corp., owns 5,000 acres at the port which it is offering for sale or development consisting of three miles of ocean frontage and two miles of river frontage.
“I started buying many years ago (1958) when they were building the Churchill Falls (hydro project),” said Block. “It’s an incredible place.”
Canada’s second-busiest port in terms of tonnage shipped, according to Seven Islands Developments, the port is a major shipping hub for mining companies that are developing the vast mineral wealth of Quebec and Labrador.
The port is being expanded to handle ore carriers up to 400,000 tons of capacity and the government of Quebec is expected to pump tens of millions more into the area’s infrastructure through its Plan Nord investment scheme. Seven Islands Development expects all that investment will pump more than 20,000 extra jobs annually into the area for the next 25 years, which should create investment opportunities for it and others. “With all the facilities that they are building around there they need administrative capabilities, storage capabilities and residences,” said Block. “So I am trying really to build a whole new city. There is a tremendous shortage of housing.”
Land Developer With A Long View
In the United States, Block’s investments are mainly comprised of “many small farms” which he develops. His Canadian holdings represent his largest investment and stretch back to the first major development of the Quebec-Labrador region as a major iron-ore mining center, a railroad and the study and eventual development of the huge Churchill Falls hydroelectric power complex in Labrador.
“I started buying land in 1958 when they were building Churchill Hills,” said Block. “That would catalyze that whole area. About eight million horsepower of hydroelectric power emanates from there. They built the railroads from Seven Islands north to Shefferville (in northern Quebec) and since then in recent years they started developing north of Schefferville where they found new mines they didn’t even know about.” The rail line from Sept-Îles runs 700 kilometers north to the cities of Wabush, Fermont, Labrador City and Schefferville.
Block sees his Sept-Îles investment as an inflation hedge and a way to play the industrialization of the developing world. “There is a shortage of commodities, silver, gold, iron ore and copper. The governments, both governments, the United States and Canada are just printing money and not generating enough wealth to support the living standards. So commodities go up as a reflection of the deteriorating value of paper money.”
Seven Islands Development., owns 3,400 acres of land suitable for industrial development in the area of Sept-Îles located east of the Sept-Îles airport. The company states in a letter it has sent to prospective developers that the land is available for immediate development “unlike much of the area in the Bay of Sept-Îles which is currently restricted to specific projects now in various stages of development.” The property is best suited for manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, administrative offices.
Seven Islands owns another 1,600 acre tract with three miles of Atlantic Ocean shoreline and two miles of frontage on the fresh water Moisie River “that could house prestigious homes, ideal for management personnel,” it states.