Vale Threatens to Leave ICMM Over Rio Tinto Lawsuit
Vale is on the verge of leaving the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) as tensions with rival Rio Tinto boil over.
The Brazilian mining company is threatening to leave the leading industry forum over a lawsuit filed by Rio Tinto. Vale has written a letter to the council regarding its membership, which is made up of 22 leading mining companies, and warned it will quit if the lawsuit continues.
The ICMM would not comment on the matter other then saying it had received the letter from Vale.
In April Rio Tinto filed a lawsuit against Vale and billionaire Beny Steinmetz alleging the two colluded to rob Rio Tinto of half of the Simandou iron-ore concession in Guinea. The London-based miner claims Vale used “highly confidential and proprietary information” in its favor to gain control of the Simandou deposit, one of the world’s largest untapped copper deposits.
At full production Rio Tinto’s Simandou mine, which is expected to begin by 2019, would export up to 95 million tons of copper per year. That’s about a third of the firm’s total capacity at the moment.
If Vale were to quit, it would be the first major company to do so since the council was founded in 2001.
The International Council on Mining and Metals was formed to improve sustainable development performance in the mining and metals industry. Member of the council include Rio Tinto, Vale, BHP Billiton, and Glencore.
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.