Vale is taking its mining operation in Voisey’s Bay underground. Construction work for the underground mine is slated to start in 2015, with first ore expected by 2019.
The commitment to the mine extension came as part of a new deal struck between Vale Newfoundland and Labrador and the provincial government.
The deal assures the current mining at Voisey’s Bay can continue uninterrupted while the company’s new, $4.25-billion processing facility at Long Harbour is completed.
It means mining operations at Voisey’s Bay can continue until at least 2035. “It’s an important mine and extending it is important for us and the industry, generally. It’s a fabulous win-win,” said Gerry O’Connell of Mining Industry NL, who spoke with The Telegram immediately following the announcement of the deal.
“(And) with these kinds of mines, you never know. I meant they could go on for — Sudbury’s been going for 100 years,” he said.
The move underground will produce 800 jobs during construction. That will be on top of the 475 jobs associated with the ongoing, surface mining operation.
The new deal
According to Vale’s vice-president of provincial operations, Jeff McLaughlin, the underground mine will offer about 400 mining jobs once up and running.
He was with Premier Kathy Dunderdale and Natural Resources Minister Tom Marshall for the announcement of the new agreement between the company and the province at Confederation Building in St. John’s Thursday.
The new deal is actually an update to the Voisey’s Bay Development Agreement.
An earlier update to the same, in 2009, stated Vale was to complete construction of its new hydrometallurgical processing facility at Long Harbour by Feb. 28, 2013. It included a limit on how much Voisey’s Bay ore could be sent outside the province for processing in the interim.
The new deal pushes back that timeline, giving Vale until 2015 to get the plant at Long Harbour up and running on Voisey’s Bay nickel concentrate.
Until then, the company is being given a limited exemption to the earlier cap on exports, to the tune of 84,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate from 2013-2015, with options for a further 15,000 tonnes under specific conditions.
For the rest of this article, please go to the St. John’s Telegram website: http://www.thetelegram.com/Business/2013-03-30/article-3210852/Voisey%26rsquos-Bay-heading-underground—Deal-includes-$100-million-from-Vale-over-next-three-years/1