Vale's latest business sounds fishy, in a good way

Brazilian mining giant Vale has taken the concept of diversification to a new level by announcing that it will start raising fish by its Sudbury, Canada, location.

The base metals division of the company, which has already been growing trees in an underground green house for years, will step into rainbow trout production said the company yesterday.

While Vale uses its farmed trees to re-forest the landscape affected by mining in Sudbury, fish will be placed into lakes that may have been disturbed by mining activities in the past.

“We are very proud of this project and its successful outcome,” said Glen Watson, Vale's senior environmental specialist. “The fish will provide a boost to the river’s fish population and biodiversity, providing a highly valued resource for the community to enjoy.”

The miner has spent the past five months raising fish in an above-ground facility. The next step would be to move the hatchery deep underground at Creighton Mine, where heat is naturally occurring and plentiful, which will reduce production costs significantly.

As an added benefit underground, Vale aims to replace chemical fertilizers currently used for tree seedlings with a natural waste fertilizer provided by the fish, thereby creating a unique sustainable fish and tree growing operation.  Vale will also continue to raise Rainbow Trout at the surface greenhouse.

“The Ministry of Natural Resources is pleased to assist Vale with fish stocking expertise from staff in the Sudbury District,” said Lindsay Munroe, Acting Marketing and Communications Specialist, MNR Northeast Region. “Fish stocking and fisheries management is important economically, supporting the sport fishing and tourism industries as well as commercial fishing, providing a source of pleasure to the many people who watch fish and marvel at nature.”

The miner said it will continue to work with the MNR and local fish and game clubs in order to choose donor sites that will allow the community to enjoy this natural resource.