On Wednesday, November 19, residents of Long Harbour, Canada, celebrated the first nickel produced by Vale’s new hydrometallurgical plant, which uses ore mined in Voisey’s Bay.

“Vale will produce billions of pounds of activated nickel in Long Harbour, in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Paul Davis. “It will be used throughout the world in various products and industries for many decades. The production of this mineral and the creation of opportunities for the region’s inhabitants will drive our province’s economy.”

The plant is the first to use hydrometallurgical technology for sulphide nickel ores, developed and tested in Canada, which avoids generating carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the smelting process.

The plant currently employs 371 people. When it is fully operating, Long Harbour will be capable of producing 50,000 metric tons of nickel per year, as well as copper and cobalt, and it may also receive ores from other Vale sites across the world. The first nickel production tests began in July, using nickel matte produced by Vale in Indonesia.

Vale CEO Murilo Ferreira said, “Our Base Metals business — of which the Long Harbour plant is an essential part — is making a major contribution to the company’s overall success. Thanks to nickel and the contributions of our operations in Canada, we will become the world’s biggest nickel producer.”