Vale is preparing to develop an underground mine at its Voisey’s Bay nickel-copper mining operations in northern Labrador, where it has operated an open-pit mine and concentrator since 2005. Newfoundland and Labrador’s Minister of Natural Resources Derrick Dalley announced approval of the project on August 10. He said, “The sanctioning of construction for the underground mine is good news for Labrador and the entire province. It will extend the operating life of Voisey’s Bay by at least 15 years, providing hundreds of jobs and continuity of operations at Voisey’s Bay and the Long Harbour nickel processing plant. We are pleased with Vale’s continued commitment and investment to support future operations.”
Development of the underground mine will be based on the Reid Brook and Eastern Deeps deposits, adjacent to the current open-pit mine. The mine will have capacity to supply concentrator feed for production of approximately 40,000 mt/y of nickel in concentrates. Ore production will start in 2020 and is expected to extend until at least 2035.
Vale is assembling a project team and establishing a project office in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Procurement planning will also be managed from St. John’s. Initial construction is planned to begin in 2016.
Vale Newfoundland & Labrador vice-President Stuart Macnaughton said, “Proceeding with the underground mine expansion at Voisey’s Bay marks an important milestone for our mining operations in Labrador. Developing the underground deposits at Voisey’s Bay is something we have been working on for some time and is the natural evolution of our mining operations in Labrador. We are very excited about our future here, and we look forward to the continued support of all of our stakeholders as we move forward.”