Chilean mining associations speak out against new constitution plans
Mining bodies in Chile have rounded on the government’s plans to draft a new constitution.
Leading figures Alberto Salas of private mining association Sonami and Joaquín Villarino, head of the mining council representing the largest firms in the sector, have been speaking out at a trade fair in Santiago.
They claim the new constitution will further strain already tense relations between the government and private enterprise. This, they say, would then lead to more uncertainty which could put off investment into the country.
Plans for a new constitution do actually have a legitimate mandate, as this was in the manifesto of President Michelle Bachelet, elected in 2013.
"The political world and its relationship with the business world are covered by a blanket of doubt, sometimes with a good cause, sometimes not so much," Villarino said.
The idea that change caused by democratic process presents challenges to business is also hot on the agenda in Europe, driven by the uncertainty created by the UK’s upcoming referendum on EU membership.
Chile’s mining minister Aurora Williams backed up the President by stating that the proposed reform will provide fundamental change for the better, and is something the country has been asking for.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.