PORT COLBORNE, ON, April 17, 2013 – Vale kicked off production at its new Tower Underflow Solids (TUS) processing facility in a ribbon cutting celebration at its Precious Metals Refinery in Port Colborne today.
This investment allows Vale to process TUS for enhanced mineral recovery. TUS is a black mud-like material comprised of precious metals, copper, selenium, bismuth and tellurium.
“This investment is a clear indication of Vale’s commitment to our operations in Port Colborne,” said Kelly Strong, Vice-President of Vale’s Ontario and UK Operations. “The new TUS processing facility offers substantial return on investment and strengthens our market position for many years to come.”
The main product produced from TUS is tellurium dioxide (TeO2). This product provides feedstock for other industries in the manufacturing of solar cells. With its unique characteristics, tellurium dioxide can also be refined for use in optical refraction applications such as fibre optics.
The TUS project also includes a $1.25 million investment in Vale’s electrowinning facility in Sudbury, Ontario. This investment allows TUS to be transported from Sudbury to Port Colborne by slurry truck, rather than by barrel, which improves material handling efficiency and reduces environmental disposal requirements.
The TUS Project broke ground in February 2011 and commissioning began in October 2012. The project involved more than 50,000 person hours of work, boosting the local economy in Port Colborne during the 20 month duration of the project. Importantly, there were no recordable injuries during this time.
“We are very proud of the safety record on the TUS Project,” said Strong. “The project team’s dedication to the principles of Vale’s SafeProduction model and success in achieving zero harm are to be commended.”
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Manager, Corporate Affairs
Vale (Ontario Operations)