Industry Celebrates National Miners Day
The mining industry celebrated National Miners Day Saturday, marking the fifth annual observance to honor the contributions and sacrifices of miners past and present.
Designated by Congress in 2009, the date commemorates the worst industrial mine accident in American history when 362 miners were killed in an explosion at the No. 6 and No. 8 mines in West Virginia in 1907.
In addition to honoring miners, the day represents the importance the industry has on the U.S.
“When you look at the products produced as a result of the mining they do, you quickly come to realize the great importance miners are to our country,” said Joe Main, Assistant U.S. Labor Secretary for Mine Safety and Health.
“If it wasn’t for miners taking the raw materials from the earth and the conversion of those into productions, our everyday lives would be much different.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the industry plays a critical role in the quality of American lives.
“Coal, and the electricity generated by coal power, heat and power our homes, businesses and communities. Miners produce the gravel, crushed stone, tar, asphalt, road salt and cement beneath our nation’s highways. Bridges that span canyons and rivers are built with ores, rock and mineral products extracted by miners.”
MSHA has launched new efforts to protect miners including initiatives aimed at health and safety implementation. The organization’s outreach includes a new coal dust rule intended to prevent black lung disease, guarding and ladder safety for metal and nonmetal miners, and enhanced enforcement activities.
National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn released the following statement:
“The National Mining Association is proud to recognize America’s miners and their indispensable role in powering and building our nation. While one day each year is set aside to honor these highly skilled and dedicated professionals, every American can thank them every day for providing the energy, metals, minerals and materials essential for our way of life.
“Our miners take great pride in what they do, and rightfully so. They are the front-end of the supply chain for what every sector of our economy needs to succeed. Our nation depends upon them getting it done and getting it done right—safely, reliably and efficiently.
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.