Vale’s un­der­ground mine on hold at Voisey’s Bay

NDP’S Mc­curdy says gov­ern­ment owes tax­pay­ers an ex­pla­na­tion

The Labradorian - - FRONT PAGE - BY KENN OLIVER

An un­der­ground mine at Vale Inco’s Voisey’s Bay mine that was de­layed last De­cem­ber is now on hold in­def­i­nitely.

Cory Mcphee, direc­tor of ex­ter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said the com­pany made the de­ci­sion based on the nickel mar­ket ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a down­turn for a longer pe­riod than ex­pected.

“At this point in time there’s re­ally no im­me­di­ate or short­term relief in sight,” Mcphee said. “Look­ing at the busi­ness and re­view­ing it in light of the price that we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing to­day is re­spon­si­ble stew­ard­ship. Dur­ing this pe­riod we’re not ap­prov­ing any new project con­tracts and pend­ing the out­come of the re­view we’ll be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to know where we’re headed.”

Mcphee would not put a time frame on the com­ple­tion of the re­view, which in­cludes all as­sets and op­er­a­tions around the globe, only to say they expect to know more later this year.

Mcphee notes work sur­round­ing the project hasn’t ceased al­to­gether. In ad­di­tion to on­go­ing de­tailed engi­neer­ing and pro­cure­ment, work that has taken place so far in­clude the in­stal­la­tion of a con­struc­tion camp, sewage treat­ment plant, potable water sys­tem, and ac­cess to the un­der­ground por­tals.

Pro­vin­cial Min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Siob­han Coady said in a state­ment that the mine, only sanc­tioned last year, “of­fers tremen­dous eco­nomic devel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties” and the hope is “that Vale’s re­view leads to a con­tin­u­a­tion of plans for the un­der­ground mine.”

Pro­vin­cial NDP Leader Earle Mc­curdy, mean­while, is­sued a state­ment tak­ing both the gov­ern­ment and Vale to task.

“Vale com­mit­ted to an un­der­ground mine in Labrador and just last year sanc­tioned it,” said Mc­curdy. “Now we learn from Vale plans for the mine are on hold, de­spite the con­ces­sions gov­ern­ment has granted to the com­pany.”

Those con­ces­sions in­clude al­low­ing more time for the com­pany to ship more ore from Voisey’s Bay out of the province while the Long Har­bour pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity was be­ing de­vel­oped. In re­turn, the com­pany made a com­mit­ment to the un­der­ground mine and $100 mil­lion in com­pen­sa­tion. Mc­curdy stated that Vale was granted more con­ces­sions in 2015 in re­turn for more money.

“Vale has al­ready taken ad­van­tage of the con­ces­sions it ne­go­ti­ated,” said Mc­curdy. “It’s gov­ern­ment’s job to make sure they live up to their com­mit­ments un­der the same agree­ment.

“We’ve heard lit­tle from the min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, noth­ing from the premier — the si­lence is deaf­en­ing.”


Due to the de­pressed price of nickel on the global mar­ket, Vale Inco Ltd. is put­ting an un­der­ground mine at Voisey’s Bay on hold pend­ing the out­come of a global re­view of its base met­als busi­ness.

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