Canadian Manufacturing

Praxair, Vale ink oxygen supply deal

Vale's Long Harbour plant currently under construction is based on a new process that uses oxygen to remove sulpher and iron from nickel.



Mississauga, Ont.—Praxair Canada Inc. will supply oxygen to a nickel processing facility being built in Long Harbor, Nfld.

The contract with Vale, an international mining company with operations in Canada, will see Praxair build, own and operate an energy efficient cryogenic air separation unit with a capacity of 390 tons per day.

Start-up is expected in mid 2013.

Vale has developed a hydrometallurgical process that uses oxygen to remove sulpher and iron from nickel. This method makes it possible to process nickel ore concentrate directly into finished metals without smelting it first, avoiding sulpher dioxide and dust emissions.

“We are building a world class nickel refinery that will employ state-of-the-art technology. The operation is intended to be efficient, cost effective, and a key part of Vale Base Metals production plan for years to come. We use oxygen as one of our primary inputs in the pressure leaching process to react with the contained sulpher and dissolve the nickel into solution. Praxair is a key supplier for us. A reliable on-site source of high quality and low cost oxygen is critical and we are looking forward to a positive long term relationship,” said Don Stevens, general manager of Vale’s Long Harbour Processing Plant.

Praxair, Inc. produces, sells and distributes atmospheric, process and specialty gases, and high-performance surface coatings. The company posted 2011 sales of $11 billion.

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