Last month, our executive director of Base Metals, Mark Travers, met virtually with Minister of Natural Resources and MP for Newfoundland and Labrador, Seamus O’Regan, to discuss our company’s major milestone with the Voisey’s Bay expansion to underground.
Mark spoke with pride and enthusiasm about our employees’ commitment to safety and hard work – in the face of many challenges – with producing first ore at the underground Reid Brook Mine. Mark said he was proud of the first ore achievement, but even more proud of the safety record at Voisey’s Bay, which was recently recognized with the John T Ryan award for safety.
“Our Voisey’s Bay Operations, and indeed our entire operating footprint in Newfoundland and Labrador, represent an incredible story of Indigenous participation, economic capacity building, environmental responsibility and safety performance,” said Mark.
Minister O’Regan expressed his strong support for the role critical minerals play in building a greener, healthier and more sustainable future across the globe. He also commended our company on the extensive training and job opportunities that we offer local Indigenous Peoples.
Mark told the Minister that Vale greatly values the relationship we have with our Indigenous partners, Nunatsiavut Government and Innu Nation. In fact, he explained, it is for this reason in large part that our company decided to put Voisey’s Bay on care and maintenance for more than three months beginning March 2020 to prevent possible exposure of COVID-19 to nearby Indigenous and local communities.
Minister O’Regan said that he will be following our progress at Voisey’s Bay, as well as our involvement in the burgeoning electric vehicle market. He said the government is aware that Vale is researching clean energy options like solar and hydro grid connection for Voisey’s Bay (which is currently 100 per cent reliant on diesel fuel) and is keen to work with us to see that realized.
His comments echo those of Yvonne Jones, MP for Labrador and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Northern Affairs, who met with our leaders at this year’s virtual PDAC conference in March. At that meeting, Minister Jones enthusiastically noted the many benefits that would come with installing clean energy including environmental, infrastructure, jobs and procurement of services and products from local businesses. (Click here to read more.)
Mark’s meeting with Minister O’Regan ended with the two agreeing to meet again soon for another update on our progress at Reid Brook, and to continue discussions about the future.
To see how far we’ve come in just three years, read this Vale News story from June 2018, which was our company’s official announcement about going underground in Voisey’s Bay.2