REPORT: 2015 was safest year ever for US mining industry
The official figures, issued rec...
The US mining industry took a step forward in 2015, recording the fewest fatalities in the history of American mining.
The official figures, issued recently by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), show 28 fatalities for all U.S. mining in 2015. Metal and non-metal mining last year recorded 17 fatalities, while coal mining recorded 11 fatalities – the fewest ever for U.S. coal mines. In 2014, there were 45 mining-related deaths.
“While coal mine closures had some effect on the historic low number of mining deaths, actions by MSHA and the mining industry to improve mine safety have been a major factor,” said Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health.
Main credited the agency’s use of strategic enforcement tools, including special impact inspections that quickly address problem mines and the retooled Pattern of Violations procedure that targets mines with chronic violations, along with compliance assistance, training and outreach efforts to the mining industry.
According to National Mining Association (NMA), one such initiative that has been especially successful in driving safety progress is association’s own CORESafety® framework, which aims to eliminate fatalities and reduce injury by 50 percent in five years. CORESafety offers a management system approach to mine safety, offering not a “top-down-one-size-fits-all” model but an adaptable and organic framework for operations of all sizes.
“We’re very gratified by this continued progress because it confirms the result of our commitment to make American mines the world’s safest,” said National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Quinn. “The record confirms the value of our safety initiatives and our on-going determination to return every miner home safely after every shift.”
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.