Vale announces first ore at Voisey’s Bay mine extension
Vale has achieved first ore production at the Voisey’s Bay mine extension. Home to one of the largest nickel deposits in the world, Voisey’s Bay has been producing nickel from an open-pit operation since 2005. The transition to underground involves the development of two underground mines.
Reid Brook and Eastern Deeps are extending the life of Vale’s Labrador operations and achieving production of 40,000 tons of nickel in concentrate at a peak annual production rate of 2.6 million tonnes by 2025, with about 20,000 tonnes copper and 2,600 tonnes of cobalt as by-products. The project is 65% complete, with executed capital expenditures of $1.26bn and Eastern Deeps start-up is expected for 2022.
Voisey’s Bay is recognised as the safest mine in Canada
“Our Voisey’s Bay operations, and indeed our entire operating footprint in Newfoundland and Labrador, represent an incredible story of Indigenous participation, economic capacity building, environmental responsibility and safety performance,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale.
Voisey’s Bay Mine is a multiple winner of the John T. Ryan Award recognising the safest mine performance in Canada – receiving the honor again in 2021. Faced with the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, the Mine Expansion Project followed suit, reaching first ore production with zero lost time injuries since construction began in 2018.
Indigenous workers are key to Vale’s success
Indigenous participation is a hallmark of the Voisey’s Bay operation, enjoying a collaborative relationship with its Indigenous partners, Innu Nation & Nunatsiavut Government, on whose traditional lands the Voisey’s Bay Complex is located.
Since the Voisey’s Bay mine expansion project began in 2018, Innu and Nunatsiavut Inuit employment has more than doubled to approximately 500 employees and 65% of all procurement contracts for the project were awarded to Indigenous-owned businesses. The ability to mine and process ore from underground will continue to generate local employment, procurement, capacity-building and shared benefit for many years to come.
Nickel, Copper & Cobalt
Ore produced at Voisey’s Bay is processed at Vale’s Long Harbour, one of the world’s lowest emission nickel processing plants. The sustainably-produced, responsibly sourced nickel, copper and cobalt products will help meet future customer demand in the electric vehicle and clean energy space as industry seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower carbon footprints.
The production of first ore production at Voisey’s Bay represents Vale’s commitment to the continued delivery of quality, predictable and responsibly sourced material to market with safety, capacity-building and Indigenous participation at the forefront.
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.