ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—Construction of an underground mine at Voisey’s Bay will start next year now that mining giant Vale has formally approved the project, the Newfoundland and Labrador government said.
Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley said the development will increase the lifespan of Voisey’s Bay by at least 15 years, boost operations at the Long Harbour nickel processing plant, and provide hundreds of jobs.
“The sanctioning of construction for the underground mine is good news for Labrador and the entire province,” Dalley said in a news release. “We are pleased with Vale’s continued commitment and investment to support future operations.”
The mine will include the Reid Brook and Eastern Deeps nickel deposits in northern Labrador next to the current open pit mine.
The government said hundreds of construction jobs are expected to be created and staffing levels will jump to 850 workers from 450 once the mine is up and running.
It said the mine will have a capacity of approximately 40,000 tonnes of nickel per year, with ore production expected to start in 2020 and continue past 2035.
Stuart Macnaughton, vice-president of Vale Newfoundland and Labrador, said the expansion marks a milestone for the company.
“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,” Macnaughton said in the release.
“Underground mining unlocks significant value and will result in the operating life of the Voisey’s Bay mine being extended.”
Vale agreed to build the underground mine as part of an amended development agreement with the province in 2013.