What mining, oil and gas industries can learn from Sudbury, the city that went from major polluter to thriving environment – by Nadia Mykytczuk (The Conversation – August 25, 2021)


Nadia Mykytczuk is the Interim CEO/President of MIRARCO, Laurentian University.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg in Montréal two years ago, he promised to plant two billion trees by 2030 to help Canada meet its net-zero emissions goal.

Planting trees, however, is hard work. It takes money and planning. But a re-greening roadmap exists.

Sudbury, the largest city in Northern Ontario, transformed itself after decades of environmental devastation, brought on by the mining industry. Other communities and industries, like oil and gas, can replicate the city’s efforts to aid in global efforts to fight climate change.

A devastated landscape

For almost 100 years, Sudbury’s community and environment were blanketed in sulfur dioxide and metals released from the smelting of nickel ore.

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Vale unlocks the next phase of Voisey’s Bay – by David Keating (Canadian Mining Journal – August 16, 2021)


The Labrador Aboriginal Training Partnership (LATP), an agreement between
Vale and the Labrador Inuit and Innu of Nunatsiavut, Nunatukavut and Innu
Nation has been instrumental for recruiting and training Aboriginal workers
from the region. Employment numbers from these Aboriginal groups at Voisey’s
Bay is touted as being 50% of the overall workforce.

One of the largest nickel deposits in the world has been given a new lease on life. Vale’s Voisey’s Bay property in northern Labrador, operating as an open pit mine since 2005, was nearing the end of its production life.

Instead, innovations in partnerships and technology will allow Vale to go underground and develop two new orebodies that will extend the life of Voisey’s Bay to 2034.

First ore production on the new underground phase of Vale’s Voisey’s Bay project was announced on June 11, with full production capacity slated to be reached by August.

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Iron ore rush creates mining boomtown in Brazil (Financial Times – August 15, 2021)


Finding a place to stay is not so easy these days in the Brazilian mining town of Itabirito.

Hotel rooms are scarce and rents have climbed, say locals, as outsiders descend on the hilly settlement in search of their fortunes — or maybe just a steady wage — from the iron ore deposits found in this tropical region of green valleys and streams.

Prices for the steelmaking ingredient have rallied over the past year, turning the modest town of about 60,000 people into a hotspot of the global commodities boom.

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Sudbury rapper pens labour movement anthem inspired by Local 6500 strike – by Colleen Romaniuk (Sudbury Star – August 13, 2021)


A Sudbury rapper, musician and activist is releasing a new hip-hop labour movement anthem and victory song inspired by the recent two-month strike between the United Steelworkers Local 6500 and Vale.

Mickey O’Brien’s latest single titled “Cap Lamp,” released under veteran hip-hop label Hand’Solo Records, will drop on all major online streaming platforms on Aug. 13.

Described as a David and Goliath story where the miners of Sudbury stand strong in the face of the second-largest mining company in the world, “Cap Lamp” captures an important moment in the history of Sudbury and organized labour.

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Steelworkers, Vale looking forward with new contract in hand – by Colleen Romaniuk (Sudbury Star – August 4, 2021)


United Steelworkers (USW) Local 6500 voted to ratify a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with Vale on Tuesday evening. The union’s president, Nick Larochelle, said that 85 per cent of its membership voted in favour of the new deal, effectively ending the 64-day strike that began on June 1.

Vale employees will return to work the week of Aug. 9 with production ramping up in the coming weeks. Larochelle said he’s proud the USW membership’s conduct throughout the strike and he’s happy this agreement works for both parties.

“We’re looking forward to making our members successful as we work with Vale to achieve economic success and longevity here in this world-class ore body,” he said.

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


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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Local 6500 votes for new five-year contract with Vale – by Staff (Sudbury Star – August 3, 2021)


Strike that began June 1 is over

Local 6500 members have strongly endorsed a new five-year collective agreement with Vale.

“The past two months have been challenging for everyone,” said Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer, North Atlantic Operations for Vale, in announcing the deal has been ratified. “We are pleased that the company and the union were able to find common ground and a path forward. We look forward to welcoming everyone back.

“Our task now is to position our business to thrive today and for generations to come. We have many opportunities ahead of us, with the growing electric vehicle market. The nickel, copper and cobalt we produce are critical metals to achieving a low carbon future.

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Brazil Prosecutors Target Final Samarco Dam Settlement This Year – by Mariana Durao (Bloomberg News – July 22, 2021)


(Bloomberg) — A final settlement between Brazilian authorities and the Samarco iron-ore venture can be reached this year, bringing legal certainty to owners Vale SA and BHP Group six years after a devastating tailings dam collapse.

That’s according to federal prosecutor Carlos Bruno Ferreira da Silva, who said in an interview that the final reparation value is yet to be defined and will be based on independent technical studies.

Silva, who is leading talks on behalf of prosecutors, pointed to a document signed by the parties that estimates talks to last about four months from June 22, the last four weeks of which would be focused on a final draft. Authorities and company officials have been meeting weekly.

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Vale, Steelworkers complete two days of talks; more talks planned – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – July 20, 2021)


Labour expert says he’s not surprised Local 6500 members have rejected the company’s contract offers

While no deal has yet been reached between Vale and its striking workers, there is some hope in the air as the two sides resumed talks this week.

“The bargaining teams for both Vale and USW Local 6500 did return to the table Monday with the assistance of a third-party facilitator,” said Danica Pagnutti, corporate affairs specialist with Vale.

“The intent of these discussions is for both parties to seek a path forward that will help in ending the current dispute.” Pagnutti said the talks are expected to continue throughout the week, but Vale will not be commenting on the nature of the discussions out of respect for the process.

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


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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Vale, Steel to head back to table with facilitator – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – July 13, 2021)


Sudbury members have been on strike since June 1; two sides looking for compromise

With a strike by Vale workers now entering its seventh week, the company and union have agreed to bring in an outside party to help them find common ground.

“Over the past few days Vale and the United Steelworkers Local 6500 bargaining committees have been exploring a path forward to the resumption of negotiations,” said Danica Pagnutti, corporate affairs specialist with Vale, in a message to The Star.

“On that front, we will be returning to the negotiation table on July 19 and utilizing a third-party facilitator that was jointly selected by Vale and the USW to assist in these conversations.”

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


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 pumping millions into Thompson mining activities – by Martin Cash (Winnipeg Free Press – June 30, 2021)


The future of the mining industry in Manitoba received a major boost on Tuesday as Brazilian mining giant, Vale, said it is investing $150 million that will extend current mining activities in Thompson by 10 years.

But that will just be a prelude to what could turn into close to $1 billion of new investment over the next decade to significantly expand mining operations in the northern Manitoba city into 2040.

The Phase 1 work is already underway upgrading ventilation, building increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution that should be completed by 2023.

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Sudbury Vale Strike impacting battery market – by Staff (Sudbury Star – July 2, 2021)


Analyst senses labour dispute could extend for months

A strike at Vale’s Sudbury operations is taxing a nickel market that’s key to powering electric vehicles. The job action by USW Local 6500 is now entering its second month, with no new contract talks planned.

Bloomberg News notes that Sudbury is one of the world’s few producers of nickel pellet, a form used to produce alloys for aerospace, electronic and nuclear industries.

Production at Vale’s northeast Ontario operation halted when unionized workers went on strike on June 1. The disruption is driving consumers to tap battery-grade nickel briquette as an alternative.

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Vale spending $150 million on first phase of Thompson mine extension project – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – June 29, 2021)


Vale is spending $150 million on the first phase of the Thompson mine extension project, which will extend current mining activities by 10 years, the company announced June 29.

“Aggressive” exploration drilling of known orebodies is also continuing, which could mean ore extraction could continue well past 2040, Vale says.

Work to be completed during the first phase of the project includes construction of new ventilation raises and fans, increasing backfill capacity and adding power distribution infrastructure. Vale expects the changes to improve current production levels by 30 per cent.

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