Vale (NYSE: VALE), the world’s largest iron ore and nickel producer, has opened the first phase of a C$945 million ($684m) expansion at its Copper Cliff Complex South Mine in Ontario, Canada.
The project’s initial expansion is expected to nearly double ore production at the Sudbury-based operation, adding about 10,000 tonnes of low-carbon nickel and 13,000 tonnes of copper production per year.
“The materials that we’re mining here in Copper Cliff are nickel and copper and cobalt; absolutely critical minerals if we’re going to achieve that revolution in our economy and it’s happening right here in Sudbury,” said Ontario Mines Minister George Pirie.
More than 12 km of tunnels were developed to link the south and north shafts of the Copper cliff mine.
Construction of the complex created 270 new jobs and spanned more than 5 million people hours moving over 600,000 tonnes of rock, Vale said.
Work comprised rehabilitating the south shaft, expansion for underground ore and waste handling systems and surface loadout and facilities, as well as the construction of new ventilation systems.
“Feasibility studies are currently underway for future development phases of the Copper Cliff Mine Complex, with potential to deliver sustainable and responsibly sourced minerals essential for a low carbon economy well into the future,” Vale said in the statement.
The Brazilian mining giant kicked off the project of injecting new life into the mine in 2017.