From the rugged and windswept shores of Labrador’s Voisey’s Bay to the relative calm of Newfoundland’s Long Harbour, Vale has chosen two very distinct sites on Canada’s east coast to build one of the largest nickel operations in the world.
At a combined cost in excess of $5 billion, the two operations have been one of Vale’s primary mining development and expenditures in Canada. At Voisey’s Bay where it all started in 1993 when prospectors discovered the high-grade nickel-copper-cobalt deposit, operations began in 2005 at the 6,000 tonne-per-day integrated open pit mine and concentrator. In 2009, following the successful completion of a $200 million dollar hydrometallurgical technology research and development program, Vale began construction of a processing plant at Long Harbour, Newfoundland – some 1200 km south of Voisey’s Bay.
Construction at Long Harbour, which is scheduled to be completed in 2013, has peaked with about 5000 people supporting the construction effort. Over the next year construction crews will begin leaving the site and a growing number of operations personnel will replace them to oversee the commissioning and start-up of new processing plant.
As can be imagined, the logistics behind the scene of making these two projects happen are far too detailed to describe in this short amount of space but hopefully, the adjacent photos will give you some idea as to the scale of the Voisey’s Bay and Long Harbour projects.
Both are enormous and almost beyond belief, but aside from their sizes, the one thing that makes them most newsworthy is that they’re both located in Canada and they were built almost entirely by Canadians.