The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Vale will continue to invest in Canada despite bad market conditions and low nickel prices because of the strength of its assets, and those assets aren’t just its ore bodies and its operations, said Peter Poppinga.
Vale officially opened its newest Sudbury operation Friday, the $760-million Totten Mine, a nickel and copper producer. Totten is state of the art, fully automated, has an outstanding safety record and excellent environmental standards.
“But Totten for us actually means much more,” said Poppinga, president and chief executive officer of Vale Canada, and executive director of Vale Base Metals and Information Technology for Vale SA.
“When I (say) asset I don’t mean only ore, I don’t only mean mines or surface facilities. I actually also mean the people, the workforce, the motivated workforce, and I also mean the stability of the business environment and the regulatory environment.
“This is very important for us,” Poppinga told more than 100 invited guests in the warm room of Worthington mine, 40 minutes west of Sudbury.
“A long-term investment needs stability, and we have this here in Canada and Ontario. This is very important. So, I am very proud of this day. Vale is very proud to be here in Ontario.
“I am sure more such days will come and we will have much more projects initiated,” he said.
Vale has invested $9 billion in Canada since it purchased the former Inco Ltd. in 2007, said Poppinga, much of that in Ontario.
Premier Kathleen Wynne attended the opening along with Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle.
Wynne called the opening of Totten Mine a “hugely important event.”
Vale’s investment in the project demonstrates “a great vote of confidence in what Ontario has to offer,” said the premier.
One of the most important roles for government, said Wynne, is to “facilitate” private-sector projects, but there are challenges that must be overcome such as moving away from barriers and putting proper protections in place.
Kelly Strong, Vale’s vice-president of Ontario and UK operations, said Vale’s $760-million investment in Totten tells the community “Vale will be here for a long period of time.”
He also proudly reported that 1.2 million person hours of work was completed without a single lost time injury.
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