Is Vale’s 2013 Commitment to

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1, 2016


For Immediate Release


Is Vale’s 2013 Commitment to Underground Mining Secure?


Keith Hutchings, Natural Resources Critic for the Official Opposition, questioned Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady in the House of Assembly on Thursday about whether Vale’s 2013 commitment to underground mining at Voisey’s Bay is secure.


“The former administration secured an agreement from Vale that would produce first ore from an underground mine at Voisey’s Bay by 2019, extending the life of the operation and job opportunities. The terms of that agreement were announced in a news release on March 28, 2013. Are those terms secure?” asked Hutchings.


The terms as described in the backgrounder include:


• The Provincial Government and Vale have now agreed to an additional amendment to allow Vale additional time to complete the construction of the processing plant in Long Harbour and to provide Vale with additional exemptions over the next three years. Vale will provide a commitment to construct an underground mine project in Voisey’s Bay.


• The Provincial Government has agreed to exempt a net amount of 84,000 tonnes of nickel-in concentrate from the requirements for primary processing in the province. These exports will take place between 2013 and 2015 and will allow the Voisey’s Bay mine to continue to operate for the next three years. Vale will have access to another 10,000 tonnes of nickel-in concentrate if they import an equal amount of nickel-in matte, and to another 5,000 tonnes of nickel-in concentrate in 2014 if they need to avoid a shutdown in Voisey’s Bay and also import 5,000 tonnes of nicke-in matte. The total potential processing exemption is 99,000 tonnes of nickel-in concentrate in addition to the 44,000 tonnes of nickel-in concentrate approved in the 2002 agreement.


• Current plans are to start operations at the Long Harbour processing plant in the second half of 2013 using imported nickel matte initially, with Voisey’s Bay concentrate being introduced gradually in 2014 once all of the impurity removal circuits are fully operational.


• The underground mine will have a capacity of approximately 40,000 tonnes of nickel per year and will extend the Voisey’s Bay mine life by at least another 15 years.


• The underground mine will include the Reid Brook and Eastern Deeps nickel deposits in northern Labrador adjacent to the current open pit mine.


• The mine will start producing ore in 2019 and is expected to remain in production past 2030.




“Are the Liberals holding Vale to the agreement? What is being done to ensure that proper oversight is being given to potential changes in procurement and timelines? The Minister of Natural Resources has a responsibility to keep the people of the province informed, and ensure that the benefits remain intact,” said Hutchings.




Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications,


Office of the Official Opposition


(709) 729 6105,


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