“During the overhaul, the smelter will continue to operate regularly,” said Stefanuto. “We have already put a lot of time, energy, and resources into planning to ensure safety.”The Clean AER Project will require an incredible amount of resources. Vale estimates the retrofit will require about 8-million person-hours of additional labour, with 1,300 workers on-site during peak construction.
The 70 per cent reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions at Vale’s Sudbury operations will put the Sudbury operation well below government regulated emissions limits by 2015 – 45 kilotonnes per year versus the regulatory limit of 66 kilotonnes per year. The project will also reduce emissions of dust and metals by 35 to 40 per cent.
The $2-billion investment is a clear indication that Sudbury and Canada are important contributors to Vale’s future, said Pollesel.
“It is the right thing to do as a company and the right thing to do for our employees and the local community to ensure the long-term sustainability of our operations. Sudbury has already earned a reputation for innovation in mining and environmental reclamation. The Clean AER Project promises to add another historic milestone to that success.”
Construction began in April with site preparation activities. Project completion is targeted for the end of 2015.
To date, contracts have been awarded to a number of Northern Ontario mining suppliers, including Anmar Mechanical & Electrical Contractors, Heath & Sherwood, Metalec Sudbury Inc., Baycar Steel Fabricating, Lopes Limited, Nordic Bearings and FRP Systems. However, contracts awarded to date represent less than 10 per cent of the total value of the contracts to be awarded.
SNC Lavalin has been awarded the Engineering Procurement and Construction Management contract.
The $2 billion Clean AER Project accounts for the lion’s share of Vale’s projected $3.4 billion in capital spending in Ontario. The company is also spending $200 million on improvements to Clarabelle Mill, $49 million on a rail-veyor material handling demonstration project at its 114 Orebody and an estimated $500 million on bringing Totten Mine into production.
Two other mine development projects are currently being studied: one at Vale’s Copper Cliff Mine Complex and the other at its Victor-Capre properties 2.5 kilometres from Xstrata’s Nickel Rim South Mine. Development of the Victor-Capre deposit would require the construction of the deepest, single lift shaft in North America at a depth of 8,200 feet.