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Premier attends opening of Sudbury mine expansion

Vale expansion of Copper Cliff Mine boosts nickel and copper production, delivers hundreds of new jobs
Premier Doug Ford at the official opening of Vale's Copper Cliff Mine South Mine expansion project, Oct. 13. (Len Gillis, photo)

The ribbon has been cut on Sudbury’s newest mining operation.

Premier Doug Ford was on hand today for the grand opening of Vale’s $945-million Copper Cliff Complex South Mine expansion.

South Mine is a first-phase extension of the existing Copper Cliff Mine that will allow the company to access newer ore bodies beneath the community of Copper Cliff in Sudbury’s west end. The expansion plans were first unveiled by Vale five years ago.

In a news release, Vale tabs the life of mine at 14 years with approximately 10 million tonnes of nickel and copper ore to be mined over that span. The underground operation will create new jobs for 270.

Besides Ford, also attending the event is Mines Minister George Pirie, Vale Base Metal Executive Vice President Deshnee Naidoo and Vale Canada's head of Ontario operations Gord Gilpin, plus a raft of Sudbury-area politicians and dignitaries.

The expansion will double ore production at the Copper Cliff Mine, adding 10,000 tonnes contained nickel and 13,000 tonnes of copper a year.

Work started in 2017 with the removal of  more than 600,000 tons of rock to carve out more than 12 kilometres of tunnels to connect the north and south shafts of the Copper Cliff Mine. Among the infrastructure improvements were rehabilitation to the south shaft with new underground ore and waste handling systems installed, along new ventilation.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates our government’s commitment to safety extracting the province’s critical minerals and strengthening our homegrown supply chains,” Ford said in a statement released through Vale. “This mine will create hundreds of new jobs for our skilled workers and be a major boost for the economy of this region.”

Also in the release, provincial Mines Minister George Pirie called the mine opening “great news” for the region and an example of how Ontario is building its profile as a supplier of the critical minerals needed for technologies like electric vehicles.

“Our government knows the sector’s best days are ahead and we will continue our strong support for the industry.”

Northern Ontario Business will post a more detailed story tomorrow.

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