The long climb out of Totten – by Angelica Zagorski (CIM Magazine – November 25, 2021)

The evacuation and investigation of the Totten mine incident

his was not your typical mine rescue, Ted Hanley, general manager of Ontario Mine Rescue, recalls thinking when he received a call from Vale’s Totten mine in Sudbury at 2 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 27. At that time, Vale decided it would bring its workers out of the mine via secondary egress after a scoop bucket was slung into the Totten mine and became lodged in the shaft trapping 39 miners at the 650-foot level.

Even though what the miners were doing was common, the incident was not. Hanley said this rescue mission was different because of the atypical use of the ladderways in the mine. Miners are used to climbing 100 to 200 feet to another level, where they can get a ride in a vehicle and travel via a ramp system out or to their next workstation.

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Vale unit to invest US$800mn in dry iron ore processing technology ( – November 9, 2021)

Brazilian iron ore mining giant Vale, through its tech subsidiary New Steel, signed a protocol of intent with southeast state Minas Gerais to invest 4.4bn reais (US$795mn) in technology that eliminates the need for tailings dams.

The funds will be used to implement an innovative dry iron ore processing technology that drastically reduces the environmental impact and extends the life of mines, the state government said in a release. The process also will also create jobs and more revenue for three municipalities, it added.

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Vale shopping low-carbon N.L. nickel to burgeoning EV sector; with pledges to get greener – by Terry Roberts (CBC News Newfoundland-Labrador – November 8, 2021)

Company confirms it’s in talks with suppliers to electric vehicle market in effort to ‘grow our exposure’

Vale is aggressively promoting the low-carbon footprint of its mining and processing operations in Newfoundland and Labrador, with hopes of positioning its eastern Canadian operations as a preferred supplier to the burgeoning battery electric vehicle market.

The company is touting a third-party assessment of its N.L. operations that revealed nickel rounds produced in the province go to market at a substantially lower environmental cost than the industry standard.

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Sudbury’s Totten Mine expected to be closed until 2022, as investigation continues – by Erik White (CBC News Sudbury – November 3, 2021)

Ministry of Labour inspectors have issued 10 orders against Vale for health and safety violations

A northern Ontario mine remains closed more than a month after the dramatic rescue of 39 Vale miners.

The shaft at Vale’s Totten Mine, on the western reaches of Greater Sudbury, is still blocked by a piece of equipment and how much damage it caused continues to be investigated.

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Vale says it continues to upgrade its tailings dams in Greater Sudbury – by Jonathan Migneault (CBC News Sudbury – November 3, 2021)

Vale says it inspects its more than 40 tailings dams in Greater Sudbury every day

Two years after a dam collapse in Brazil that killed more than 250 people, Vale has said it has continued to upgrade its tailings dam infrastructure in Greater Sudbury.

In the last 15 years, the mining company has upgraded five dams in the Copper Cliff region which were built using what the industry calls the upstream method. That is when the tailings materials themselves — which are the rock waste byproduct of mine milling operations — are used to build a dam.

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Labour rows hit Vale’s nickel and copper production – by Jax Jacobsen (Mining Magazine – October 22, 2021)

Brazil-based Vale reported increased production of iron ore and nickel in the third quarter, while nickel and copper production declined due to labour disruptions.

Iron ore production was up by 18.1% to 89.4 million tonnes, due to better weather in the Northern System, increased production at the Vargem Grande dry processing plant, and Itabira’s improved performance, Vale said.

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Nickel defined Port Colborne history for a century (St Catherines Standard – September 19, 2018)

In the dog days of summer in 1916, directors of the International Nickel Co. — or Inco — met to discuss the acquisition of land in Port Colborne, with its abundance of access to hydroelectricity and transportation, as the site for the company’s first Canadian nickel refinery.

With that the die was cast and Port Colborne, then a sleepy little village at the entrance to the Welland Canal, would never be the same. “It changed the whole of Port Colborne; it refined and defined Port Colborne,” said Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum assistant co-ordinator Michelle Mason.

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Nickel prices surge to 7-year high, approaching $10 a pound – by Staff (Sudbury Star – October 20, 2021)

Driven in part by troubles with Vale’s Sudbury operations, nickel surged to a seven-year high on Wednesday. Nickel – the key mineral found in Sudbury – topped US$9.53 a pound, the highest it’s been since 2014.

Bloomberg News said concerns that there’ll be less supply of the key industrial metal to meet resilient demand from economies reopening as the pandemic retreats sparked higher prices.

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Vale sees no near-term spinoff of base metals unit – by Staff (Sudbury Star – October 10, 2021)

The chief executive of Vale SA said on Thursday the Brazilian iron ore miner is not looking into a near-term spinoff for its base metals, and the company later said the unit needs to be “transformed” before that longstanding plan can be carried out.

“We are not talking about a spinoff yet. The problem here is the size of the business,” said Eduardo Bartolomeo, Vale’s chief executive officer, as part of the Financial Times’ Mining Summit.

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‘We just gave’r’: Exhausted rescuers used double-pulley system to raise trapped Totten miners – by Laim Casey (Sudbury Star – October 7, 2021)

Canadian Press – Danny Taillefer and Jason Leger were in the middle of a first aid refresher course when the phone rang. Shawn Rideout, the chief rescue officer with Ontario Mine Rescue, was on the other end. There were 39 miners stuck underground at Totten Mine near Sudbury, Ont., after the mine shaft was compromised, he said.

There was another way out: climbing a complex warren of ladders at the Vale-owned mine from about a kilometre underground. Taillefer and Leger — mine rescue officers with the non-profit who were based in Timmins, Ont. — were told they were needed for a complicated mission, and instructed to bring several hundred kilograms of rope and other gear.

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Vale Opens Door to Base Metal Merger Once Its House Is in Order – by Mariana Durao and James Attwood (Bloomberg News – October 7, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — If iron ore giant Vale SA decides to separate its base metals operations, it may look at the possibility of merging that business with the assets of another company.

Chief Executive Officer Eduardo Bartolomeo opened the door to such a possibility during the Financial Times Mining Summit on Thursday. The world’s second-largest producer of iron ore continues to weigh up the pros and cons of forming a seperate company with its copper and nickel mines in Canada, Brazil and Indonesia.

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Vale miner describes long climb out of Sudbury’s Totten Mine – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Northern Ontario Business/ – September 30, 2021)

At 60 years old, Perry Venedam was one of the oldest miners stranded underground at Vale’s Totten Mine on Sunday after a piece of equipment being slung to the bottom became lodged in the shaft and put the cage lift system out of operation.

Along with 39 other Vale employees, he was forced to use a secondary egress ladder system to ascend out of the mine with the help of mine rescuers, who ensured they were able to climb safely with the help of fall arrest equipment.

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OPINION: The dirty secrets behind Sudbury’s regreening – by Joan Kuyek (The Narwhal – September 30, 20210

The Narwhal

Joan Kuyek is co-founder of MiningWatch Canada and the author of Unearthing Justice.

A recent op-ed in The Narwhal said that Sudbury, Ont. offered proof that a “[post-mining] re-greening road map exists,” and indicated that Sudbury provides a model to the world. However, any community attempting to replicate the Sudbury model has to know its dirty, and often untold, stories.

The mines and smelters in Sudbury — Canada’s largest mining community — were built on and destroyed the lands of the Atikameksheng Anishinaabek. The boundaries of their tiny reserve were deliberately drawn to exclude mineral rich lands. Although over $1 trillion has been taken from the Sudbury region, the First Nation has received no compensation and no apology.

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There for you, on your worst day: Ontario Mine Rescue’s Ted Hanley on getting it right when everything goes wrong – by Herb Mathisen (CIM Magazine – September 29, 2021)

Editor’s note: CIM Magazine interviewed Ontario Mine Rescue’s Ted Hanley just weeks before the Totten mine rescue team successfully rescued the 39 miners trapped 4,130 feet underground.

You can’t crystal-ball everything. Ted Hanley, general manager of Ontario Mine Rescue, does his best anyway, as do the staffers and volunteers who work to save miners’ lives when accidents occur.

After all, the 92-year-old organization was created in response to a problem many should have seen coming. In 1928, fire crews were brought in from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to put out a fire at the Hollinger mine in Timmins because no local or provincial firefighters were capable of responding to the underground blaze.

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Totten Mine rescue a ‘really well-oiled’ team effort – by Jim Moodie (Globe and Mail – September 30, 2021)

The escape from Totten this week tested the mettle of more than three-dozen miners, but the task confronting rescue workers was just as daunting. About 90 people altogether were involved in the extraction effort, said Ontario Mine Rescue vice-president Ted Hanley, with Shawn Rideout, the organization’s chief mine rescue officer, charged with overseeing the response.

“It was all hands on deck, and really well-oiled in that there was a day shift and a night shift transition, for the surface operations, at least,” said Hanley. “It was a little more difficult for the underground rescue workers.”

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