"If we can't bring you to the mine, we will bring the mine to you."
That's how Heather Bruce-Veitch, director of communications and external relations with the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), sums up the virtual reality tours of the mining company now being offered at the Gateway Corporation premises in Labrador City.
Tracey West, president of Gateway Labrador Inc., was excited to partner with IOC to offer the tours.
"This is an exciting venture," West said. "Now people will get to know how the mine operates and appreciate how immense the facility is."
The mine is interesting for visitors and residents alike. IOC stopped offering tours on the facility several years ago, mainly for the sake of safety, but this will allow IOC to open its doors to the public once again.
Members of IOC's senior operations leadership team were also on hand for the launch, as were invited guests and community members.
Chantal Lavoie, chief operating officer, says there was tremendous support from the leadership team, and they are proud to showcase the business to the Labrador West community and beyond.
The virtual tour will also be able to travel to conventions and mining shows, wherever IOC would like to highlight its operations.
Union officials and town councillors attended the launch.
Labrador City Coun. Junior Humphries says he is amazed at the presentation and how detailed it is, showing from everything to the blasts to transportation, crushing, and every aspect of how the product gets shipped.
Tony Reccord, president of the Steelworkers Local 6731, says he's worked a lot of years at IOC and he says he saw aspects of the operation that he hasn't seen before. He also says the scene of the blast was amazing. The fact that the tour is offered in 3D makes it so real people may be quite surprised.
The tour will also showcase some of the company's operations in Sept-Iles.
"I am very pleased to be here this evening as we launch IOC’s Virtual Reality Tour," Lavoie said.
"At IOC, safety is our number one focus, and by using virtual technology, we can offer an immersive glimpse into our operation from mine to port, while remaining in a controlled and safe environment. This means school groups, local residents, family members visiting the region and so many more will be able to better understand what goes on from the blast to being sold worldwide."
Lavoie says putting the virtual tour together was no small feat - from obtaining footage of a blast to entering a tunnel on the QNS&L railway.
"It was a collaborative effort between many of our employees across IOC and our provincial Labrador-based supplier SEM, whose creativity and technological expertise made this all possible," Lavoie said.
When discussing where would be the best place to house this tour, Gateway Labrador was the obvious choice. As the western gateway to Labrador, and one of IOC’s strong community partners, Gateway provides a venue for tourists and residents alike to discover the history of Labrador West, of which mining has been - and continues to be - an integral part of the community.
The Virtual Tour will also be hitting the road with a tour to Sept-Iles.
For people interested in taking the virtual tour, It is available at Gateway Labrador, 1365 Route 500 Labrador City, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.