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Sudbury's Stobie Mine shaft to be demolished this week

Removal of Vale's historic nickel-producing facility to reduce maintenance costs, make space

Editor's note: The photo gallery has been updated to include images from the demolition, which took place on Dec. 10.

The Number Nine Shaft at Vale’s Stobie Mine in Sudbury will be demolished this week.

Vale announced in October that infrastructure at the Stobie site was being removed to reduce maintenance costs and make way for a  potential new development.

A number of buildings were razed earlier this year and two additional shafts were taken down last week.

Constructed in 1966, the Number Nine Shaft is one of the last remaining structures to come down.

“Number Nine Shaft is a concrete structure that is 95 metres high, so it must be blasted down instead of dismantled,” said Patrick Boitumelo, head of mining and milling for Vale’s North Atlantic Operations, in a Dec. 8 news release.

“This demolition work has been carefully planned with a team of internal and external experts and is not expected to impact the community.”

The removal of Shaft Nine is about a month behind the original schedule announced by Vale, which estimated this work would take place in mid-November.

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Stobie began as an open-pit operation in 1890, and underground operations started in 1914. With more than 375 million tonnes produced over the years, more ore has been mined out of the Frood-Stobie complex than any other mine in the Sudbury Basin.

The company announced it was putting Stobie’s operations on care and maintenance in March 2017, citing low metal prices and declining ore grades for the decision.

Vale said residents and business owners in close proximity to the mine site would hear or feel “minor activity” during demolition, but the company is taking measures to mitigate noise and dust from the work.

The construction site is closed to the public.

“The Number Nine Shaft holds many fond memories for our employees,” said Boitumelo. “It’s an important part of both our company and our community’s history. We treasure those memories while looking forward to the next chapter of the Stobie Mine site.”