Schefferville

Schefferville, Qué, Town, pop 202 (2006c), 240 (2001c), inc 1955. Schefferville is located between Knob and Pearce lakes, in the heart of the Québec-Labrador peninsula, 576 km north of Sept-Iles. Father Louis Babel, on a mission to the Montagnais-Naskapi 1866-70, made a map of the Ungava region showing mineral-rich areas.

In 1895 a Montréal geologist, A.P. Low, did detailed survey and mapping work showing the presence of major iron ore deposits in the Knob Lk region. In 1938 the research results of a Laval geologist, J.A. Retty, attracted the interest of financiers, and in 1942 the Hollinger North Shore Exploration Co won some land concessions. In 1950 the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Ry, a subsidiary of the Iron Ore Co of Canada, started building a rail line to Knob Lk. The first shipment of minerals arrived in Sept-Iles in 1954. Schefferville, built in 1953 by the Iron Ore Co, was named by Prem Maurice Duplessis in honour of Mgr Lionel Scheffer (1903-66), first bishop of Labrador.

The area's economic activity basically depends on its iron ore. Initial reserves were estimated at 420 million t; the company yearly extracted about 8 million t. In 1979 iron production at Schefferville topped $282 million, but in 1983 Iron Ore Co ceased operations completely, causing the near shutdown of the town. Between 1981 and 1986, the town's population dropped by 83.9%. Outfitters still use Schefferville as a base of operations.