Vale recently announced the milestone achievement of first ore production on its Reid Brook deposit at the Voisey’s Bay Mine Expansion Project in Northern Labrador. Ore produced at Voisey’s Bay is processed at Vale’s Long Harbour, one of the world’s lowest emission nickel processing plants.
The sustainably-produced, responsibly sourced nickel, copper and cobalt products will help meet future customer demand in the electric vehicle and clean energy space as industry seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower carbon footprints.
The transition to underground involves the development of two underground mines – Reid Brook and Eastern Deeps – extending the life of Vale’s Labrador operations and achieving production of 40,000 tons of nickel in concentrate at a peak annual production rate of 2.6 million tonnes by 2025, with about 20,000 tonnes copper and 2,600 tonnes of cobalt as byproducts.
Home to one of the largest nickel deposits in the world, Voisey’s Bay has been producing nickel from an open-pit operation since 2005. The project is 65% complete, with executed capital expenditures of USD 1,260 million and Eastern Deeps start-up is expected for 2022.
Indigenous participation is a hallmark of the Voisey’s Bay operation, enjoying a collaborative relationship with its Indigenous partners, Innu Nation & Nunatsiavut Government, on whose traditional lands the Voisey’s Bay Complex is located.
Since the Voisey’s Bay Mine Expansion Project began in 2018, Innu and Nunatsiavut Inuit employment has more than doubled to approximately 500 employees and 65% of all procurement contracts for the project were awarded to Indigenous-owned businesses.
The ability to mine and process ore from underground will continue to generate local employment, procurement, capacity-building and shared benefit for many years to come.