Vale making strides towards underground mine in Labrador – by Terry Roberts (CBC News Newfoundland and Labrador – March 10, 2016)

Plans to expand Vale’s mining operations in Labrador are progressing as the Brazilian-based mining giant prepares for construction at the Voisey’s Bay site.

A company official says a project team is being assembled in St. John’s, the procurement process is underway, and the process of selecting an engineering and project management contractor is in the final stages.

Civil construction will begin this summer, Vale’s Bob Carter explained in a statement to CBC News, and the new mine is expected to produce first ore in four years. “Next year we will begin the actual underground mine development work,” he wrote.

Vale’s decision to move forward with an underground mine at its northern Labrador location is a rare gem in an otherwise struggling mining sector.

The underground mine will expand the life of the operation until at least 2032, and increase the workforce at the site from 450 to 850, the company has stated.

Mine produces 6,000 tonnes daily

An open pit mine and concentrator located some 35 kilometres south of Nain has been in operation since 2005, producing roughly 6,000 tonnes daily of nickel-cobalt-copper concentrate.

The open pit mine is expected to wind down over the next four or five years, Carter said, and operations will overlap with the new underground mine for about two years.

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