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Vale suspending Voisey's Bay mining as 'precaution' due to COVID-10 virus

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(Kitco News) - Mining giant Vale said this week that the company is placing its Voisey’s Bay nickel mine in Labrador on “care and maintenance” for the next four weeks due to the global COVID-19 virus outbreak.

The company said this is a “precaution to help protect the health and well-being of Nunatsiavut and Innu indigenous communities in Labrador,” as well as its own staff due to the fly-in nature of the remote mine.

“Although none of our employees has tested positive for coronavirus at any of Vale's global operations, Vale has taken this preventive action because of the unique remoteness of that area, with fly-in and fly-out operations, with higher exposure to travel,” the company said in a prepared statement Monday. “Vale will work together with the communities and authorities to ensure our operations do not act as a catalyst to inadvertently introduce the virus in these communities.”

The Long Harbour Processing Plant continues to operate, so nickel and cobalt production should not be affected, given the availability of stockpiled concentrates that should last past the four-week shutdown period, Vale said. However, copper concentrate production will be reduced.

“The decision also impacts Voisey's Bay mine expansion project currently underway to transition to underground operations,” Vale said.

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