Vale to spend $150M to extend life of Thompson mining operation – by James Snell (Sudbury Star – August 3, 2021)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Vale Canada Limited has announced a $150 million infrastructure investment to extend the life of its Thompson mining operation by 10 years. The company is also carrying out aggressive exploration drilling to potentially extend the mine’s life beyond 2040.

The $150 million will cover phase one of the Thompson mine expansion, Vale said in a statement. Phase one includes infrastructure development – ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution that will allow the company to mine deeper and longer.

Phase one could increase production by 30 per cent. The company plans to access lower portions of its primary ore body in phase two.

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Manitoba needs to up its mining game – by Joseph Quesnel (Winnipeg Sun – July 9, 2021)

https://winnipegsun.com/

Joseph Quesnel is a senior research associate with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

There is some good news for mining in Manitoba, but the province needs to reform its mining policies for the sector to thrive. Despite some progress over the years, this province still has a hostile climate for investment and this needs to change.

Vale recently announced it is making a $150 million investment to extend current nickel mining activities in Thompson, Man., by a decade. At the same time, the company will be engaging in some aggressive exploration drilling of known ore bodies to extend the life of the mine even further.

This is good news because a few years ago, the mining operation in Northern Manitoba was set to shut down. This announcement provides a welcome injection of new capital into northern Manitoba.

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Editorial: Mine extension announcement good for remaining Vale employees (Thompson Citizen – July 7, 2021)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Last week’s announcement that Vale Manitoba Operations is spending $150 million on the first phase of a mine extension and exploration project in Thompson is good news, even if it won’t have much effect on the size of the local workforce.

The money being spent to construct a new ventilation raise, extend power distribution underground and increase backfill capacity so that mined areas can be filled in and mining start in new areas faster will go mostly to contractors, Manitoba Operations general manager Gary Annett told the Thompson Chamber of Commerce June 30, but will also extend the mine life by 10 years and result in up to 30 per cent more production.

That provides stability to the people who survived the job-shedding of the past few years at Vale and, perhaps, the possibility of more jobs down the road if nickel prices take off in concert with electric vehicle production and sales.

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Vale commits $23 million for diamond drilling, other work related to Thompson mine extension project – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – February 10, 2021)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Vale Manitoba’s proposed Thompson mine extension project doesn’t have the green light from the company’s board of directors just yet but $23 million has been allocated towards it over the next six months in an en effort to collect more information on which to base a final decision.

Some of the money will be spent on diamond drilling to try to determine the precise extent of the footwall deep and hanging wall ore body, Manitoba Operations general manager Franco Cazzola told the Thompson Chamber of Commerce at their Feb. 10 meeting.

“Our project right now sits at 50 per cent inferred and 50 per cent indicated [resources],” Cazzola said. “When you have an inferred resource … the ore body is not quite as well-defined as you’d like it to be and so in order to to that you actually have to do more diamond drilling, pull more cores.”

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Silver Elephant acquires nickel project in Thompson belt – by Mariaan Webb (MiningWeekly.com – January 25, 2021)

https://www.miningweekly.com/

Toronto-listed Silver Elephant has high hopes and aspirations for its new Minago project, in Manitoba, which could supply the “insatiable” demand for Class 1 nickel from the electric vehicle (EV) industry.

The company announced on Friday that it had entered into a binding agreement to acquire the project, located in the Thompson nickel belt (TNB), from Victory Nickel for $11.68-million, consisting of $6.68-million in credit against secured debt owed to Silver Elephant and $5-million in shares.

“The Minago acquisition immediately propels Silver Elephant to the forefront of the nickel sulphite mining space to supply much needed Class 1 nickel for long-range, high-intensity, fast charging NMC 811 (80% nickel, 10% manganese, 10% cobalt) cathode standard in lithium batteries to fuel mass EV adoption,” Silver Elephant’s VP exploration and Canadian operations, Dan Oosterman, said in a statement.

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Smaller workforce, technology and higher output part of plan to lower unit costs: Vale mine manager – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – November 5, 2020)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Franco Cazzola, general manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations, made a virtual presentation to members of the Thompson Chamber of Commerce Nov. 4 about recent job cuts and additional upcoming changes intended to make the company’s mine and mill here more competitive.

Now on his third stint as a Thompson resident – he also lived here in the mid-1960s and later from 2005 to 2009 as an employee of Inco and then Vale – Cazzola said 103 layoffs and position eliminations as well as 41 early retirements announced last month were only the first step in an effort to reduce production costs, though he admitted they were the most painful one.

“We’ve just started our journey and the first part was the workforce reduction unfortunately and it affects people and families in the community,” he said, noting that the workforce now includes about 489 hourly employees and 610 employees overall, nearly 700 less than before the smelter and refinery shut down in 2018 and Birchtree Mine was put on care and maintenance the previous year.

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Elimination of nearly 150 jobs at Vale a ‘punch in the stomach for Thompson’ – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – October 29, 2020)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Vale Manitoba Operations is down to about half as many employees in Thompson as it had three years ago after a comprehensive review of the division led to the elimination of 144 jobs.

Job losses resulting from review, announced back in June, when the company said it was losing $300,000 per day from its operations in Thompson, included 75 unionized hurly employees being laid off and another 25 taking early retirement packages, while 28 staff positions were eliminated and 16 staff employees opted for early retirement.

“These decisions have not been made lightly, and we recognize the significant impact they have on our employees, our businesses and the local community,” said Tara Ritchie of the company’s corporate and Indigenous affairs department in an Oct. 29 email.

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Editorial: Uncertainty lingers as Vale switches Thompson bosses again (Thompson Citizen – February 12, 2020)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

The removal of Gary Eyres as head of Vale’s Manitoba Operations and his replacement with Franco Cazzola, who formerly worked in Thompson for a few years from 2005 to 2008, indicates that things are still in flux at the Thompson mining and milling operation.

As a result, the uncertainty that first took hold of Thompson nearly a decade ago when the Brazilian mining company that purchased Inco in 2006 announced that it was shutting down the smelter and refinery still lingers, even after the axe has fallen.

In the lead up to the closure of the smelter and the refinery in mid-2018, people didn’t know what to expect. Obviously, the loss of a few hundred good paying jobs was going to have a trickle-down effect and it has, as several businesses have closed up shop over the past few years, though sometimes it is because their owners couldn’t find buyers or family members to take over the operations from them.

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Manitoba mining could see a billion-dollar boost – by Martin Cash (Winnipeg Free Press – November 19, 2019)

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/

There has not been much good news in the mining industry in Manitoba for a few years, but that’s starting to change, potentially in a very big way.

Vale is on the verge of making what would be the largest single investment in the mining industry in Manitoba’s history at its Thompson operations.

This week’s provincial mining exploration conference led off with the blockbuster news that the Brazilian company is in the final stages of confirming $1 billion of new investment in its Thompson operations over the next five years.

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Canada’s worst violent crime problem is in Thompson, Man. – by Shannon VanRaes (MACLEAN’S Magazine – November 19, 2019)

https://www.macleans.ca/

As the “Hub of the North” Thompson serves a regional population
of 55,000. The city’s airport is the second busiest in the province
and more than 40 remote communities—mostly First Nations and
Northern Affairs settlements—rely on Thompson for essential
services and commerce.

It’s the “machete kids” that worry Donnel Jonsson most. The property manager for Ashberry Place, a low-income apartment complex in Thompson, Man., has dealt with assaults, fires and even murder over the years. However, recent youth crime has him feeling unsafe, particularly along the city’s Spirit Way trail.

“Kids are going around and assaulting individuals walking the path, no reason why, they just come up to them and basically stab them or cut them across the face,” he says, pointing to a wooded section of trail below a 10-storey-high wolf mural.

This May, the city’s RCMP detachment indeed found itself investigating a stabbing spree that left five injured. In March, a machete-wielding home invader hacked a dog to death and in June, Thompson saw two stabbings and a machete attack in three days.

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Vale Manitoba Operations head believes there is an ore body equivalent to a new mine near Thompson – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – November 13, 2019)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

A proposed $1 billion investment in Vale’s Thompson mines in the next five years could generate nearly $8 billion in economic activity over the next 45 years, the company’s head of Manitoba Operations told the Thompson Chamber of Commerce Nov. 13.

“What we’re looking at is exploring our ore bodies,” said Gary Eyres, estimating that the proposed investment would be equivalent to opening a new mine in Thompson and saying that it is possible another mine shaft could be excavated down to as far as 6,300 feet. Right now, mining areas extend down to 4,800 feet below the surface. “We haven’t found the end of the ore body yet. Somewhere close by, I believe, is the next Thompson mine.”

If the investment goes ahead, it would result in $7.9 billion worth of economic activity between now and 2065, $7.4 billion more than putting the mines on care and maintenance until 2043 would create. It’s also $5.4 billion more economic activity than would be generated by simply mining out the current areas of T1 and T3 by 2043.

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Editorial: A year after smelter/refinery closure, Thompson worse for wear but not down for the count (Thompson Citizen – July 3, 2019)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

About a year ago at this time, Thompson was awaiting the last round of layoffs from Vale’s Manitoba Operations and approaching the end of an era as nickel mining operations in Thompson, for the first time in their history, prepared to move from a fully integrated model that took nickel from the ground and refined it into its final product, to a mining-and-milling model, in which ore would be extracted and milled and then shipped off to Sudbury, Ont. for smelting and refining.

At the time, many people were – justifiably – concerned about what this change might mean for Thompson.

Looking back, the transition has been hard, especially for those who lost their jobs, but Thompson is not on the ropes economically, at least not yet, though the local economy has absorbed some pretty heavy body blows as a result of Vale shrinking its Thompson operations.

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Manitoba: Rupture of Thompson’s tailing dams could kill nearly 100 people, Vale reveals – by Ian Froese (CBC News Manitoba – June 17, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/

Active mine dam in Thompson, Man., records a ‘very high’ hazard rating

A mining giant reeling from a deadly dam collapse in Brazil says it is investigating one of its dams in Thompson, Man., over fears a rupture could kill as many as 100 people.

Vale revealed one of the six active mine dams in the northern Manitoba city recorded a “very high” hazard rating, as determined by the Canadian Dam Association, which means a collapse could result in up to 100 deaths, significant loss of environmental and cultural values and “very high economic losses” affecting important infrastructure.

The mining company disclosed the safety of its dam operations worldwide, after facing pressure from the Church of England Pensions Board and a group of Swedish investors in the wake of a January dam failure at Brumadinho, Brazil, that killed 270 people.

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New mining manager outlines his vision for Vale at Thompson chamber meeting – by Kyle Darbyson (Thompson Citizen – June 5, 2019)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Gary Eyres tells business owners about nickel concentrate, electric cars and new exploration initiatives

After three months on the job, Vale’s latest mining manager Gary Eyres spoke at the Thompson Chamber of Commerce meeting May 29. Throughout his 44-minute presentation, Eyres outlined what Vale’s Manitoba Operations look like right now and where they are headed in the future.

The Australian went over Vale’s current status as a strictly mining and milling operation in Thompson since its smelter and refinery shut down for good back in late 2018.

However, Eyres said the concentrate load-out facility completed about a year ago allows the company to ship out 14 to 16 trucks’ worth of concentrate to Sudbury, Ontario for processing every day.

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Pimicikamak Cree Nation members training for Hudbay mining jobs in Snow Lake (Thompson Citizen – May 28, 2019)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

A dozen members of Pimicikamak Cree Nation (PCN) at Cross Lake are being trained for mining sector jobs at Hudbay’s Snow Lake operation through a partnership between the company, the provincial government, PCN, University College of the North (UCN) and the Northern Manitoba Sector council.

The training began in February and will conclude in November. The provincial government is providing $87,000 in funding for the training, with Hudbay and PCN contributing in-kid support.

“We are working in partnership to develop the next generation of workers in Northern Manitoba’s resource economy,” said Premier Brian Pallister in a May 27 press release.

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