Archive | Thompson

‘The north is truly hurting’: Thompson mayor frustrated he can’t get meeting with premier (CBC News Manitoba – August 16, 2018)

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

Dennis Fenske says city’s economic crisis warrants face time with Brian Pallister

The mayor of Thompson says he’s frustrated that he can’t get a meeting with the premier despite the grave economic challenges his community is facing.

Dennis Fenske says he and his council have been trying to arrange a sit down Premier Brian Pallister for months.

They put in a request to meet with Pallister when the premier was in Thompson last week for an announcement that Bell MTS would be awarded the contract to connect first responders across the province. Continue Reading →

Vale’s Long Goodbye: 2,814 days adding up to 7 years, 8 months and 15 days – by John Barker (Soundings John Barker – July 31, 2018)

https://soundingsjohnbarker.wordpress.com/

The Sword of Damocles dangles no longer. Today is the day Tito Martins, then president and chief executive officer of Vale Canada and executive director of base metals for the Brazilian international parent company, told us was coming on Nov. 17, 2010 – 2,814 days ago, or expressed another way, seven years, eight months and 15 days ago.

The day the Thompson smelter and refinery officially cease production and Thompson ceases to be a fully integrated nickel operation for the first time since March 1961.

Mind you, July 31, 2018 – today – is something of an arbitrary bookkeeping sort of marker. At the time of Martins’ 2010 announcement, the closing date was announced as 2015, so we’ve had about three extra years of nickel smelting and refining. As for the actual ramp down, the last furnace tap from the one remaining furnace in operation and anode cast from the smelter and the last cathode pulled from the refinery happened earlier this month. Continue Reading →

[Manitoba Mining] A new era begins; how long will it last? (Thompson Citizen – July 25, 2018)

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

With smelting and refining operations at Vale’s Manitoba Operations shut down never to return, the mining industry in Thompson has entered a new era, one in which the only processing to be done will consist of milling and which will see Thompson act as a feeder operation for smelters and refineries in Sudbury, Ontario, and Voisey’s Bay in Newfoundland and Labrador.

This will mark the first time since construction was completed nearly 60 years ago that Vale (and previously Inco) operations will not be fully integrated, taking nickel from the ore extracted underground to a finished product, instead just to a nickel concentrate that is shipped out from a new load-out facility that was recently completed.

A new era has also begun in a different way with the phasing out of Mark Scott’s position as vice-president of Manitoba Operations, with July 20 having been his last day on the job. Once again, for the first time since mining and associated operations began in Thompson in the late 1950s to early 1960s, they will not be overseen by a local head of operations but managed as a satellite mine of Vale’s nickel operations in Sudbury, with Alistair Ross in charge of all of the company’s Canadian mining operations. Continue Reading →

Workers say goodbye to Vale smelter and refinery in ‘bittersweet’ closing ceremony – by Kyle Darbyson (Thompson Citizen – June 12, 2018)

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

‘A big hit emotionally for everybody working there,’ says union president

Vale Manitoba Operations hosted a closing ceremony for its smelter and refinery June 9 with workers and others paying tribute to facilities that are almost as old as Thompson itself.

This event took place at the main plant site, and featured a barbecue, children’s activities, speeches from local dignitaries and a tour of the facilities themselves.

While regular production won’t be permanently shut down until July 31, Vale Manitoba Operations manager of corporate affairs Ryan Land thought it was important to put this event together while everything is still up and running, since it gave their family members the chance to get a closer look at the facilities that produced “the world’s best nickel for about 57 years.” Continue Reading →

Northern Manitoba has untapped mining potential – by Blaine Pedersen (Thompson Citizen – April 11, 2018)

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Blaine Pedersen is the Manitoba Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade.

The past 20 years have not been kind to the mining industry in Manitoba. Low metal prices, challenges in raising capital and the previous NDP government’s adversarial attitude toward the industry have all contributed to a sharp decline in mineral exploration and mine development in the province.

Times have changed for the better! We are open for business and our government is committed to reduce the burden of red tape, manage the province’s fiscal situation and reduce the tax load on companies and Manitoba families. These improvements will have a positive impact on all sectors of the provincial economy, including the mining industry.

We are developing a clear focus on expectations for local communities and the exploration/mining industry. To this end, Ron Evans and Jim Downey have been tasked to develop a Mineral Development Protocol. Continue Reading →

‘It’s probably one of the most difficult times in our history’ – by Kyle Darbyson (Thompson Citizen – January 6, 2018)

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Union president braces for Vale cutbacks in 2018

After a rollercoaster year full of uncertainty and surprise announcements, Vale ended 2017 with more than 100 fewer jobs than it started the year with, which brings their total workforce in Thompson down to approximately 1,180 people.

Even though these job loses were announced well in advance, it doesn’t change the fact that the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 6166, the union these affected employees were members of, is definitely going to feel the squeeze in 2018.

Vale Manitoba Operations plans on permanently closing down their smelter and refinery in the third quarter of the year, which will reduce their total workforce to around 837 people. Continue Reading →

Vale rep lays all the cards on the table during Thompson’s last chamber meeting of 2017 – by Kyle Darbyson (Thompson Citizen – December 20, 2017)

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Throughout 2017, news about Vale’s cutbacks in Thompson has been on the minds of many local residents, especially after their Birchtree facility was put on care and maintenance back in October.

In an attempt to quell concerns about where the company is headed, Mark Scott, the vice-president of Vale’s Manitoba Operations, attended the Dec. 13 Thompson Chamber of Commerce meeting to provide an overview of the challenges the company will be facing in the new year.

Throughout his presentation, Scott made no bones about the continued work force reductions that will be coming to Vale at the end of 2017 and once the smelter and refinery closes down in the third quarter of 2018. Continue Reading →

Staking out a future: Thompson adjusts as mining industry slows – by Brett Purdy (CBC News Manitoba – November 28, 2017)

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

Vale still largest employer in Thompson but other industries helping develop diverse economy

Rajinder Thethy has put almost $750,000 in his carwash business in Thompson, Man., and it’s investments like his the northern city is banking on to help stabilize — and build — the economy as the local mining industry slows.

Thethy, who has lived and worked in Thompson for 22 years, originally built the carwash with some partners back in 2004 as a side gig. He was a professional accountant at the time. But in January 2016, he decided he wanted a major career-and-life change and to be more devoted as a business owner.

“I know what the Thompsonites need so for me to stay here and expand my business just made perfect sense,” he said. Continue Reading →

Short-term plan needed to address mining-related job losses in Northern Manitoba, says NDP (Thompson Citizen – November 2, 2017)

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Manitoba’s NDP party says Premier Brian Pallister’s Progressive Conservative government is not doing enough to mitigate the economic effects that will be felt as up to 1,500 jobs are lost in Flin Flon and Thompson in the next year or so.

A briefing note sent to Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen last May, which was obtained by the NDP through a freedom-of-information request, said those job losses could represent $100 million in lost income and an overall loss of $300 million to the Northern Manitoba economy. Flin Flon MLA Tom Lindsey told the Nickel Belt News that the province is not doing enough in the short term to limit the damage those jobs losses will cause.

“We need to start addressing some of these issues right now,” said Lindsey, noting that the Look North task force’s report is more focused on long-term solutions. “The long-term vision is good but what do we do now that will try and keep those jobs, those workers, in the communities in the north so that Flin Flon and Thompson can survive?” Continue Reading →

[Vale and Thompson, Manitoba] The first shoe drops (Thompson Citizen – October 4, 2017)

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Thompson inched into a new era Oct. 1 as Birchtree Mine stopped production of nickel ore and began the process of transitioning into care and maintenance status, a position it was previously in from 1978 until it reopened in 1989.

The move affects an estimated 150 jobs within the mine and up to 50 in processing, service and support roles, Vale Manitoba Operations said in May, when the decision to move to care and maintenance was made because it is unprofitable to continue mining at current nickel prices.

At any time, this would have been bad news for Thompson’s economy. While some affected employees may opt for early retirement and stick around and others may find new jobs locally, some will be moving out of town and taking the money that they spent on accommodations and goods and services elsewhere. That will have a trickle-down effect that even people who aren’t employed in anything mining-related will feel. Continue Reading →

Closing Time: Last hoist for Thompson’s Birchtree Mine – by John Barker (Soundings John Barker – September 30, 2017)

https://soundingsjohnbarker.wordpress.com/

On the surface, it was an unseasonably warm and brilliant orange early autumn day. Underground, it was closing time. Not last call, but rather the hard rock mining on-the-job equivalent: last hoist.

This day has almost come for Birchtree Mine in Thompson, Manitoba before. In fact, the day did come for Birchtree for most of a decade in the 1980s, as the mine was on “care and maintenance” because of unfavourable market conditions from December 1977 through 1989.

And on Oct. 18, 2012, Vale had announced care and maintenance was being considered for Birchtree Mine in 10 months time in August 2013. After finding $100 million in cost savings at its Manitoba Operations, bringing its cost per metric tonne for finished nickel to under US$10,000, Birchtree Mine would receive on May 6, 2013 a reprieve that lasted almost 4½ years. Until now. Continue Reading →

Thompson, Manitoba mine to close in October, will put at least 150 out of work (CBC News Manitoba – May 16, 2017)

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

Falling nickel prices forced Vale to close mine, company says

A nickel mine in Thompson, Man. will be closing this fall, a representative with the United Steelworkers confirmed Tuesday. The closure of the Birchtree mine will put between 150 and 200 people out of work, USW 6166 president Les Ellsworth said.

“I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear this week that we would actually be closing the mine,” he said. “It came as a shock.” Ellsworth expected the mine to be open until at least 2020 but falling nickel prices forced mine owner Vale’s hand, he said.

Ryan Land, manager of corporate affairs for Vale in Thompson, said the company has been in a “prolonged down cycle” for some time. He added the mine was approaching the end of its life cycle as well. “We happen to be in a business where we are price takers, not price makers,” he said, referring to nickel prices. Continue Reading →

Vale’s community report looks to another 60 years of mining – by Kacper Antoszewski (Thompson Citizen – November 8, 2016)

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Corporate affairs and organizational development manager Ryan Land was the guest speaker at a special meeting of the Thompson Chamber of Commerce Nov. 9, organized due to his cancellation the previous week. Land updated the chamber on Vale’s recently released annual community report including the results of this year’s Mining Association of Canada (MAC) audit and some of the past year’s accomplishments.

The community report presentation largely revolved around the results of Manitoba Operation’s Sustainable Mining Initiative audit, conducted by the MAC, which assesses member firms based on performance in tailings management, aboriginal and community outreach, energy use and emissions, safety and health, and crisis management.

The report places Manitoba Operations as AAA operators in the areas of aboriginal awareness, safety and health, and crisis management. More average is tailings management, floating in a grey area between A and AA ratings, along with A and B ratings in the areas of energy and emissions. Continue Reading →

[Nickel] Thompson Manitoba Named After Inco Chairman Dr. John F. Thompson

Dr. John F. Thompson (Image from Heritage North Musuem Website)

Dr. John F. Thompson (Image from Heritage North Museum Website)

Following ten years of mining exploration in the region, a major ore body was discovered on February 4, 1956, and a year later Thompson was founded. Named after INCO’s chairman, John F. Thompson, the new townsite was designed as a “planned community” following an agreement between the Government of Manitoba and INCO Limited.- (Heritage North Museum http://heritagenorthmuseum.ca/thompson-area/history-of-thompson.html)

Information Below Courtesy of Vale

The City of Thompson and the main orebody of Inco’s Manitoba operations (now owned by Vale) are named after Dr. John F. Thompson. Some historical records say Dr. Thompson’s name was used because he was celebrating his 50th anniversary with the company the year the orebody was discovered. But it was his accomplishments, not his time with Inco that earned him this honour.

From the beginning of his career with Inco, in 1906, Thompson played important roles in developing and encouraging the expanded use of various nickel alloys, introducing them to the textile, chemical, power and food service industries. Continue Reading →

Vale marking 60 years of mining in Thompson this weekend – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – June 15, 2016)

http://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

We weren’t even supposed to be here today, but the ore that is the foundation of Thompson in both the literal and figurative senses has outlived the original projections of its lifespan more than twofold, making it possible for Vale, which bought Inco in 2006, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Thompson operations this weekend.

When the decision to establish a mine and a town to service it was made following the discovery of nickel deposits in 1956, the plan was for the community – and its infrastructure – to be around for 25 years, says Vale Manitoba Operations corporate affairs and organizational development manager Ryan Land. That it has far outlasted that prediction means the community is now repairing and replacing much of that infrastructure but also that Thompson itself has grown to become more than just a mining town.

“We are already a diversified economy,” says Land. “That regional hub thing is real. The region sustains Thompson as much as Vale if not more.” Continue Reading →