United Nations Presses Norway to Close Coal Mines
The UN is urging Norway to shut down its coal mining operations on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard due to concerns due to a clash of interest with the islands' major functionality of climate change research.
Executive secretary on climate change for the UN, Christiana Figueres, said that Svalbard is a bastion of climate change research and that this and coal mining fits very poorly together.
She also cited that Norway has been one of the global leaders when it comes to sustainable energy programmes and green living.
Svalbard has hosted mining activity since the turn of the twentieth century and the economic legacy of this would be difficult to shut down according to Norway’s climate and environment minister Tine Sundtoft.
A five-year life mine at Lunckefjell was given the seal of approval in 2011, but the current government has not come to a decision on an approach going forward. Carbon capture and storage technology could be one possibility, and Norway’s politicians have refused to rule out expanding mining activity on the island.
Figueres also warned that the Scandinavian country should take into account the economic cost of extracting ever-hard to reach oil and gas stockpiles, saying that most of the cheaper finds have already been used up.
However, the World Coal Association (WCA) has appealed to Norway to provide global leadership in meeting the challenges of economic development, energy poverty and climate change, by rejecting calls to ban coal investments.
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.