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Vale's Totten Mine officially opens Friday

By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | Feb 18, 2014 - 1:10 PM |
There have been delays, but the Sudbury Basin's first new mine in 35 years, Vale's Totten Mine, officially opens Friday. File photo

There have been delays, but the Sudbury Basin's first new mine in 35 years, Vale's Totten Mine, officially opens Friday. File photo

Company's first new mine in 40 years

Local media and dignitaries will finally get a look at Vale's newest mine, when Totten Mine officially opens this Friday. It is the Sudbury Basin's first new mine in 35 years.

Mayor Marianne Matichuk will be among the officials on hand when the company hosts a ribbon-cutting ceremony Feb. 21.

The mine, located near Worthington, will eventually employ about 150 people, Vale says on its website. It has a projected life of 20 years.

Originally supposed to open in 2011, several factors forced Vale to postpone bringing Totten into service.

When explaining the delay nearly three years ago, company spokesperson Angie Robson said economics and age were major challenges Vale had to overcome to open the mine.

“The global economic crisis in 2008 and 2009 caused some restrictions in capital investment that affected the project,” Robson said in 2011. “There is an existing shaft there that was sunk some 40 years ago. It required a little more rehabilitation than was originally expected.

“There have also been some geotechnical challenges with some of the ventilation raises.”

One of the major contractors working on the project is the local firm Cementation. The company was responsible for rehabilitating the existing shaft, building a new headframe and hoist house, developing a new shaft and sinking two fresh air raises.

The project was originally supposed to cost $360 million, but as of 2011, the expected figure had jumped to $759 million. The mine will produce about 2,200 tonnes of nickel a day.

Expected to be on hand for the ribbon cutting are Vale Canada's president and CEO, Peter Poppinga, Kelly Strong, the company's vice-president of Ontario and UK Operations, Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle, Chief Paul Eshkakogan of Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, and Rick Bertrand, president of United Steelworkers Local 6500.

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