Archive | Thompson

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

Alistair Ross stepping down as head of Vale Canadian mining operations, including those in Thompson – by Kyle Darbyson (Thompson Citizen – December 13, 2018)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Vale’s management structure in Canada continues to change with the company recently announcing that Alistair Ross will step down as the director of North Atlantic mining operations by the end of the month when his contract expires. According to a Dec. 11 Vale memo, Mike McCann, who has worked for the Brazilian mining giant in Sudbury for the last six years, will replace Ross Jan 1.

“Mike has done a superb job leading processing operations across the North Atlantic and Asia, delivering value projects and achieving production and safety improvements in a number of areas across our business,” said Ricus Grimbeek, chief operating officer for Vale Base Metals, in that memo. “I have every confidence that Mike will continue his track record of success leading our mining and milling operations.”

This move is the latest change to Vale’s Thompson management, which began back in July when Manitoba Operations vice-president Mark Scott’s position was eliminated. Ross was given the responsibility of overseeing Vale’s Canadian operations in Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador at that time. Continue Reading →

Vale issues update on momentous year in Thompson mining history – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – September 27, 2018)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Vale Manitoba Operations’ 2017-18 update entitled “A New Era” comes at a time when the mining company has ceased smelting and refining operations in Thompson after nearly 60 years of integrated nickel production.

The first Bessemer nickel matte was produced in the smelter on Sept. 10, 1960 and the first official production of nickel cathodes from the refinery occurred on March 25, 1961. The last anodes were poured in the smelter on July 8 of this year and the last nickel cathode was pulled on July 16. By that time, the new concentrate load-out facility was already complete, with the first shipment of concentrate having been loaded onto a truck bound for Sudbury June 24.

Over their lifetimes, the smelter and refinery produced nearly than 2.5 million tonnes of electro-nickel. “The decision in 2010 to decommission the smelter and refinery gave plenty of time for our people, the company and
the City of Thompson to prepare,” said a message from North Atlantic and Asia refineries director Ricus Grimbeek in the report. Continue Reading →

‘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 →