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CCMP P1: ‘An example of our future’

December 15, 2021

Kathryn Milner, manager, Project Controls and Contracts, has been working on our Copper Cliff Mine Project Phase 1 (CCMP P1) since 2017. Photo: Kathryn Milner

Welcome to the CCMP P1 (Copper Cliff Mine Project Phase 1) series in Vale News. Here you’ll read about how expanding and extending our Copper Cliff Mine is a shining example of how we will turn around our Base Metals business. Last week we kicked off the series with a photo essay. If you missed it, scroll to the end of this story for the link. In this installment, we speak with Kathryn Milner, manager, Project Controls and Contracts, for an overview and project highlights. Read on! 

In her 15 years working at Vale, as part of the Base Metals North Atlantic Project Group, Kathryn Milner, manager of Project Controls and Contracts, has worked at every mine site at our operations in Sudbury. Kathryn’s area of expertise is project controls, which includes controlling the costs for the project such as budgeting, forecasting, estimating, contract management, and overseeing scheduling and timelines for large, multi-phase projects that often last several years. 

Since 2017, she has been working on our Copper Cliff Mine Project Phase 1 (CCMP P1), which is already producing ore from the new deposits. This first phase of the project reunites the operations with Copper Cliff North Mine, creating a new Copper Cliff Mine Complex. Ultimately, the project will expand and extend our underground mine to provide replacement production ore. 

Here are some Phase 1 highlights: 

  • Development of approximately 10 million tonnes of ore
  • Delivering approximately 14 years of production
  • Rebuilding the CCM South Shaft
  • Major infrastructure repair and expansion for underground ore and waste handling systems, as well as surface loadout and facilities
  • Supplementing existing ventilation systems, which will be leveraged in the future to enable further mine development to the North and South orebodies

Phase 1 is estimated to be completed by the third quarter of 2022. To date, it has seen 4.6 million-plus work hours peaking at more than 700 full-time equivalents. 

Obsession with safety 

“It’s one of the biggest projects in my career,” Kathryn said, adding that success for a project of this size depends on diligence and teamwork by a great group of professionals. “By diligence, I mean keeping up our obsession with safety to ensure our people go home safe every single day.”

Phase 1 project timeline. Note: UG stands for underground.  Image: Vale Archive

For complex, multi-year projects like this one, Kathryn and her team create a master schedule for each phase, breaking the work into what she calls “packages.” Each package “needs to link up to make the critical path to completion.” 

One of the largest Base Metals mine sites?

The Front-end Loading (FEL2, also known as pre-project planning) for Phases 3 and 4 will be completed in Q1 2022, leading to the start of FEL3. FELs encompass different stages in the development of a project from pre-feasibility to feasibility to execution. If approved for execution, these additional phases will make the Copper Cliff Mine Complex one of the largest mine sites in our Base Metals business. 

The first phase of the project will feature some important innovations including trialing battery-electric Load Haul Dump (LHD) machines and an automated operations centre. Future phases of the project will see the use of battery-electric and green energy vehicles to reduce our company’s carbon footprint.

What does a project of this magnitude mean to Vale, employees and the community? 

“It’s an example of our future,” said Kathryn. “For Base Metals employees, it means stability and good paying jobs in their community. For the community, which has supported our Copper Cliff Operations for more than 100 years, it means a growing economy and will ensure that Greater Sudbury remains a leader in the mining service industry.”

What’s next? “Hopefully we get to do this again,” said Kathryn. “As our partners in Geology and Exploration identify new reserves, we will incorporate our learnings from this project and past projects to the design and execution of the next mine expansion or new mine.”

Want to see progress photos of CCM P1? Click here.  

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