UK government intervenes in deep coal mine plan
Plans for a new UK coal mine pose a challenge for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, reports Reuters. The government wants to boost jobs in northern England after winning many voting regions which traditionally back the opposition Labour Party while setting an example on its green credentials before hosting a climate summit in November.
In a letter, signed on behalf of housing minister Robert Jenrick, the government said the decision to “call in” the application for the mine had been taken because of that advice and added that there should be a public inquiry.
“The Secretary of State has decided to call this application in because of the further developments since his original decision,” the letter said. “The Climate Change Committee’s recommendations for the 6th Carbon Budget have been published since he was advised on this decision.”
The Cumbria mine, being developed by privately owned West Cumbria Mining, will extract coking coal which is used for steel production rather than power generation.
In January, Britain’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) questioned the government’s decision not to intervene in a local council decision to allow the new mine, saying it would “increase global emissions and have an appreciable impact on the UK’s legally binding carbon budgets”.
Last year Britain became the first G7 country to set in law a net zero emissions target by 2050, which will require wholesale changes in the way Britons use energy, travel and eat.
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.