Vale underground mine on hold: Government silent on potential loss of jobs and benefits

Vale underground mine on hold: Government silent on potential loss of jobs and benefits

NDP Leader Earle McCurdy says last week’s announcement from Vale that the planned underground mine at Voisey’s Bay is now on hold is a significant setback and the people of the province deserve a full explanation on what government is going to do about it.

“Vale committed to an underground mine in Labrador and just last year sanctioned it,” said McCurdy. “Now we learn from Vale plans for the mine are on hold, despite the concessions government has granted to the company.”

In 2013 Vale and the provincial government amended the original 2002 Voisey’s Bay Development Agreement. Vale committed to an underground mine and $100 million in compensation, as well as improvement to employment and industrial benefits. Government in turn granted the company more time to develop the Long Harbour nickel processing plant and allowed the company to ship more Voisey’s Bay ore out of the province.

In 2015 more concessions were granted to Vale, in return for more money.

“Vale has already taken advantage of the concessions it negotiated,” said McCurdy, “It’s government’s job to make sure they live up to their commitments under the same agreement.”

According to the 2013 amendment, if the underground mine did not proceed as promised, Vale was to pay damages to the province.

“We’ve heard little from the Minister of Natural Resources, nothing from the Premier – the silence is deafening,” said McCurdy.

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