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Glencore eyes two potential mine developments in Sudbury Basin

The future of Glencore’s nickel operations in Sudbury will require deeper mines to access previously untapped deposits, said Marc Boissonneault, the company’s vice-president of the company’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations.

Boisonneault, who addressed the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 21, said Glencore is eyeing two potential Sudbury developments that would require mine shafts as deep as 2,700 metres.

Glencore’s Onaping Depth project is estimated to contain 15.7 million tonnes of nickel at higher grades than average for the Sudbury Basin, and would require a capital expenditure of $547 million to develop.

The company is completing a pre-feasibility study and will decide by the first or second quarter of 2015 whether it would be worthwhile to mine the deep deposits.

“Given our life of mine situation, we would like to get started on it soon,” Boissonneault said.

Glencore’s flagship mine in Sudbury, Nickel Rim South, has a mine life that should extend until 2020,but the company is currently exploring a deeper deposit at Nickel Rim that would extend the life of mine to the mid-2030s.

Both developments would pose a number of technical challenges relating to rock stress and ventilation.

Boissonneault said Glencore has explored using cold lake water to cool the mines, instead of a more expensive refrigeration system.

Downtown Toronto draws in cool water from Lake Ontario to cool buildings near the waterfront. Boissonneault said Glencore could use a similar system for Onaping and Nickel Rim.

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