Our company recently announced that we have moved from care and maintenance into a planned maintenance period at the Voisey’s Bay Mine in Labrador as a first step to resuming operations in July.
“The feedback from employees returning to site for the first time in several months has been very positive. They are extremely impressed with the controls that are in place and are happy to see the mine returning to full production,” said Bill Legge, site services manager.
The protection of workers at our site is our top priority.
The planned return to production follows a period of three months of monitoring progress and events associated with COVID-19. Production is expected to resume in July and to reach full capacity by early August.
“Our Maintenance and Engineering department did an excellent job completing major repairs on our assets to allow a safe reliable startup of the mine site. Very impressed with the quality and dedication of our employees to deliver a safe well executed shutdown,” said Gary Dimmer, maintenance manager.
Mine expansion project
Resuming operations will include critical path activities related to the Voisey’s Bay Mine Expansion Project. This project involves the gradual transition from open pit to underground mining – a transition that is expected to create new job opportunities and extend the life of the mine.
“The VBME Project (Voisey’s Bay Mine Expansion) is the future of our Operations and it is a major accomplishment to restart this safely, putting us back on track towards the start of production in 2021. A great effort from every single person that is on our site,” said Joao Zanon, VBME project director.
In line with World Health Organization (WHO) protocols to test, remove, track and treat positive or suspicious cases, Vale is partnering with a private testing lab in Newfoundland and Labrador to provide extensive PCR (or molecular) testing of all employees entering the site. PCR testing is the gold standard used in Canada and abroad to diagnose active COVID-19 infection in patients with symptoms. The enhanced testing capacity enables the early identification, tracing and stopping of the spread of any potential COVID-19 cases. There have been no cases of COVID-19 to date at site.
“The protection of workers at our site is our top priority and as the global pandemic has been evolving, all of our health and safety controls have evolved with one goal in mind: to prevent the virus from getting to our site. Adding testing is another layer of control that we are implementing to focus on the protection of our site,” said Erin Cullen, health and safety manager.5