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Vale extends care and maintenance at Voisey’s Bay

Voisey’s Bay mine. (Image courtesy of Vale)

Vale (NYSE: VALE) announced Wednesday that it is extending the care and maintenance period at its Voisey’s Bay mine in Labrador, Canada, for up to three months.

On March 16, Vale reported that it would cut activity at Voisey’s Bay for four weeks due to its remote location and as a precaution to mitigate the spread of covid-19.

“The Long Harbor processing plant is still in operation, and nickel and cobalt production should not be affected,” Vale said at the time. Voisey’s Bay produced 35,400 tonnes of nickel in 2019.

To date, none of the workers at Voisey’s Bay have tested positive for coronavirus.

The mine produced 25,000 tonnes of copper concentrate in 2019. According to Vale, production will be reduced due to the halt, with an impact of as much as 6,000 tonnes in H1.

In 2015, Vale launched the Voisey’s Bay Mine Expansion (VBME) project to promote the transition from open pit to underground mining. Construction began in 2016 and is expected to be completed by 2022​.

The VBME project is expected to extend the mine life of Voisey’s Bay, with annual underground mine production of around 45,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate on average, as well as about 20,000 tonnes of copper and 2,600 tonnes of cobalt.