Sustainability the Key for Vale Inco’s Vice President and COO Parviz Farsangi in Sudbury Speech – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of permission to post Bill Bradley’s article.

Sustainability was the word most used by Parviz Farsangi, Vale Inco’s executive vice-president, at a talk at Science North Thursday evening.

“We all want to succeed in the long term, in every aspect of our business, not just in the short term,” said Farsangi.

He was speaking to a standing-room-only crowd at a Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Sudbury branch meeting in the Vale Inco Cavern.

“When it comes to (ore) reserves, no one can touch us. We have the world’s best nickel reserves in terms of sulphide and laterite deposits worldwide,” he said.

Those reserves, coupled with the company’s focus on investing in finding new mines and digging deeper into older ones, means the future for Greater Sudbury is bright, he said.

“Our motto is to bring new life to older operating mines and bring new mines to life,” said Farsangi.

He listed a series of significant investments:
-$400 million for Totem Mine
-$45 million for Copper Cliff Deep project
-$30 million for Garson Mine ramp project
-$13.2 million for Coleman Mine

Sustainability may also be the way to deal with falling nickel prices, said Farsangi. Nickel prices have dropped from nearly $24 a pound to just under $9 a pound today.

“We want to be able to compete at various nickel price levels even when they go down. That is why we are investing in our operations so we will have the opportunity to compete.”

Farsangi also said sustainability referred to investing in the community. He listed a series of community investments, large and small:
-$4.5 million Living With Lakes aquatic research centre at Laurentian University
-$5 million CEMI, Centre For Excellence in Mining Innovation, Laurentian University
-$2 million to the NORCAT  facility
-$100,000 to Dynamic Earth
-$375,000 to Sudbury Food Bank
-$250,000 to Sudbury Hospice
-$500,000 to the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Laurentian University

Not only has the company invested in the community but so have the employees, said Farsangi.

“Our employees set a record for the United Way for companies who contribute $1 million to the United Way campaign. This is not easy for a company like us with 5,000 to 6,000 workers. Usually very large companies like auto companies make this list. But we did it here in Sudbury.”

Sustainability also meant being safety and health conscious for workers.

“North Mine has gone four years in a row without a severe injury. This means we are one of the safest industries around.”

He noted that sustainability meant taking responsibility for the environmental impact of his mining operations.

“I have not been here for awhile, but I was so pleased at the re-greening of the slag piles project (in Gatchell) that was undertaken. Fixing up these black slopes right near where people live is one of the best examples of re-greening I have seen.”

The executive also noted that emissions are still being reduced.

“By 2015 emissions will be further reduced another 63 per cent. That is good for all of us.”

In terms of energy conservation Vale Inco has been a leader, said Farsangi.

“Despite increasing production by 20 per cent since 1990, energy use has declined by 10 per cent.”

In a province where competitively priced energy is now a challenge, Vale Inco as a company will have to continue to deal with energy efficiency in their operations, he said.