Vale SA (NYSE:VALE) announced plans to resume operations at its Voisey’s Bay mine in Canada in the coming month. The leading commercial nickel producer halted operations at the mine in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. In a recent statement, Vale, which is based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil said it will restart its operation and projects to reach full capacity in August.
The company is scaling down its operation at the mines as a precaution against COVID-19 for its employees and neighboring communities. Operations at the mines were halted for another three months, with the company’s mine expansion project also put on hold. Vales had initially announced the ‘care and maintenance’ period before shifting it to ‘planned maintenance’ period.
The restart of the mines is expected to benefit the copper market more than nickel
The start of operation at Voisey’s Bay is expected to benefit copper market more than nickel. This is because the company continued with nickel production even during the lockdown period. The company, however, fell short of its inventories for copper. To facilitate a smooth and safe reopening, the company contracted a private testing lab to test all its employees.
“Vale remains firm in its commitment to the safety of its people and the communities in which it operates and will continue to consult and cooperate with local health authorities to establish world-class initiatives in the fight against Covid-19,” the company said.
Vale to carry out mass testing of its employees
The resumption of operations comes as economies around the world continue to reopen, and prices for steel-making inputs continue to recover. The company has put a number of measures to facilitate reopening. These include robust screening measures and the ability to mass test. According to Vale, mass testing will offer knowledge and transparency in terms of number of people that may have come into contact with COVID-19 patients. This way, the company is able to undertake contact tracing and avoid wide-spread infection successfully. Vale has also conducted extensive consultation with public health authorities, the government, and indigenous communities.