History was made in Labrador once again on June 11th as Vale announced they would move forward with the construction of the Voisey’s Bay underground mine this summer. The announcement comes exactly 16 years after the nickel mine was started in Labrador. I was pleased to be in St. John’s yesterday along with the Innu Nation Grand Chief, Gregory Rich and Nunatsiavut President, Johannes Lampe, when the Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and Eduardo Bartolomeo, Executive Director Base Metals, Vale, announced that the construction of the Voisey’s Bay underground mine will proceed this summer.
The underground mine will extend the operating life of Voisey’s Bay by at least 15 years and will result in:
- Close to $2 billion in capital investment by Vale;
- 16,000 person years of employment during the five-year construction period, peaking at 4,800 in 2020;
- Once operational, 1,700 in jobs at the underground mine and Long Harbour processing plant;
- 2,135 person years in indirect and induced employment annually;
- $370 million per year in labour income; and
- $1 billion in economic activity annually that will result in $69 million per year in provincial tax revenue.
First ore production from the underground mine is expected no later than April 2021 and provides for continuity of operations at the Long Harbour processing plant. The initial announcement that the Voisey’s Bay Project would proceed occurred 16 years ago on June 11, 2002. Since construction began at Voisey’s Bay, the project has generated some 35,000 person years of employment. Mining operations began in 2005 and approximately $15 billion of nickel, copper and cobalt has been recovered.
As the Member of Parliament for Labrador, I want to acknowledge this historic milestone. This will be the first underground mine for Labrador and the construction that will begin this summer will peak at 4800 jobs by 2020. Vale has had two successful impact benefit agreements (IBA) with the Innu Nation and Nunatsiavut Government. Success in the region has been directly linked to the IBAs and the strong working relationship between Indigenous communities, Vale and Labradorians. This project and strong collaborative working relationship between all parties is reconciliation, resource development and environmental protection succeeding in Canada.