The Vale hydromet plant in Long Harbour, Newfoundland, is officially open and treating concentrates from the Voisey's Bay nickel-copper-cobalt mine in Labrador.
The plant is the first to use hydrometallurgical technology to treat sulphide nickel ores without generating carbon dioxide emissions common to conventional smelters. The technology was developed in Canada.
The plant currently employs 371 people. At full operation, Long Harbour will be capable of producing 50,000 tonnes of nickel per year, as well as copper and cobalt. It may also receive ore from other Vale sites around the world. The first nickel production tests began in July using nickel matte produced by Vale in Indonesia.