Vale commits to underground mine

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(From left) Jeff McLaughlin, Vice-President of Vale’s Newfoundland and Labrador Operations; Premier Kathy Dunderdale; and Natural Resources Minister Tom Marshall address members of the media today in St. John's regarding amendments to the Voisey’s Bay Development Agreement. — Telegram photo

Amendments to the Voisey’s Bay Development Agreement announced today by the provincial government and Vale Newfoundland & Labrador Limited (Vale) include a commitment to an underground mine at Voisey’s Bay.

A news release notes the agreement now includes enhanced industrial and employment benefits and additional revenue to government of approximately $100 million over three years.

The amendments were made due to the delayed construction schedule at Long Harbour nickel processing plant. The delay meant the plant would not be ready to process all of the nickel concentrate from Voisey’s Bay until 2015.

Through the agreement, the provincial government will provide Vale with an additional exemption from primary processing requirements between 2013 and 2015 so that the Voisey's Bay mine can maintain continued operation while construction of the processing plant in Long Harbour is completed.

All exempted concentrate will be replaced and processed in Long Harbour in future years.

"We are pleased with the outcome of these negotiations with Vale," Premier Kathy Dunderdale said during a news conference this morning.

“The new mine will provide many hundreds of construction jobs after sanction in 2015, and even more operational employment than the current mine after first ore is achieved in 2019.”

Jeff McLaughlin, vice-president of Vale’s Newfoundland and Labrador operations, said Vale recognizes the importance of the underground mine to the continuity of operations at Voisey’s Bay and as future feed supply for the Long Harbour plant.

“Underground mining is the next natural evolution in our operations at Voisey’s Bay and today’s announcement allows us to unlock additional value in this world-class operation,” McLaughlin said.

“The agreement provides Vale with the necessary additional exemptions from primary processing that ensure continuity of operations at Voisey’s Bay while construction continues on the Long Harbour processing plant.”

About 400 people are currently employed at the mine in Voisey's Bay and the underground extension is expected to add another 400 operating jobs.

About 800 people will be required for construction, to get the mine working underground, McLaughlin said.

The new agreement between the province and Vale assures the mine will run until at least 2035.

The premier and McLaughlin both said no decision had been made on how the mine extension will be powered.

Diesel power, wind power and hydro power are all being considered.

As for environmental assessment, the original assessment for the Voisey's Bay mine included the possibility of the mine extending underground and no further assessment is planned.

 

 

 

 

 

Organizations: Vale Newfoundland Labrador, Voisey

Geographic location: Long Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • David Wilson
    March 28, 2013 - 13:35

    Foghorn Leghorm hit the nail on the head. The Long Harbour facility was designed to specifically process the Voiseys Bay nickle concentrate. Nickle concentrate from other sources will not be able to be processed there. The Procinve will surely deny this claim. Only time will tell and Foghorn and myself can say we told you so.

  • Douglas
    March 28, 2013 - 11:18

    What happens if commodity prices drop even further and the underground mine is no longer viable - will they still be able to ship our ore out of the province or will another clause kick in forcing them to process it at Long Harbour?

  • Foghorn Leghorn
    March 28, 2013 - 11:02

    I have heard that workers at the Voiseys Bay mine actually have an unofficial pool betting if any ore from the mine will ever be processed in Long Harbour. The ore is rumoured to unacceptable for the hydromet processing being built in Long Harbour. The only reason Long Harbour was built was to satisfy the MOU signed with the Provincial Government at the time. Only time will tell, the proof is in the pudding as the saying goes!

  • saelcove
    March 28, 2013 - 10:25

    How many government cronies are working for Vale

    • Albert Webber
      April 02, 2013 - 11:17

      Same goes with the Hydro in Labrador!...How many got sticky fingers?

  • Jon Smith
    March 28, 2013 - 10:10

    As the people said in Ontario when the initial agreement to allow ore export from NL, I thank you, my family thanks you and my dog thanks you even though we would lynch any Ontario government who agreed to export our ore. Word is that Vale recently eliminated a complete line of the processing facility at Long harbour-No details on that-how come? Is this a real $100 million which will change hands or a phantom payout like the $150 Million for Hebron which was already spent when announced?

  • Maggy Carter
    March 28, 2013 - 09:46

    This announcement is noteworthy as much for what it omits. "The agreement provides Vale with the necessary additional exemptions from primary processing that ensure continuity of operations at Voisey's Bay while construction continues on the Long Harbour processing plant". What are those additional exemptions and how long are they good for? Start-up of the Long Harbour plant had been scheduled for last month. Is there a new completion date? When start-up does occur, what will be the total ore tonnage for which Vale will be committed to supply from its other operations? These are fairly basic questions which the news media should have put to Vale during the press conference. Of course they could ask the government instead, but - thanks to Bill 29 - Dunderdale and her ministers have gone underground as well.

  • Richard
    March 28, 2013 - 09:44

    ''...the provincial government will provide Vale with an additional exemption from primary processing requirements between 2013 and 2015 so that the Voisey's Bay mine can maintain continued operation while construction of the processing plant in Long Harbour is completed.'' If Liberals made this announcement, Kathy and Danny would have called it a giveaway. Makes you realize is foolish the last few years have been here.