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Nickel Processor Taps Talents of Local 1 Newfoundland Members

Journal: Issue 3 - 2013

Members of Local 1 Newfoundland have worked over 550,000 hours constructing global mining giant Vale's sprawling $3 billion nickel processing plant in Long Harbour, Newfoundland, about 100 kilometers due west of St. John's.

BAC members on the project performed the following work: pouring, placing and finishing of concrete footings, foundations and floors; bush hammering, grouting and patching operations; installation of epoxy coatings over concrete surfaces, construction of CMU walls for buildings; and the installation of acid-brick linings for autoclaves and processing vessels, pictured far right.

Local 1 members worked a total of 75,000 loss-time injury free hours for Quebec-based MBI COREXCEL to complete the acid-brick linings. These linings provide superior thermal shock and chemical resistance, essential to creating the highly-pressurized airtight vessels required for the complex process of leaching sulfides.

This is Vale's first full-scale adoption of a new "hydromet" technology to process the nickel concentrate directly to metal products without first having to smelt the concentrate. It will be more economical and environmentally friendly since the sulphur dioxide and dust emissions associated with a smelter are eliminated.

When completed, Long Harbour is expected to produce 50,000 tonnes per year of finished nickel product, together with associated cobalt and copper products.

Vale's nickel processing plant in Long Harbour, Newfoundland.


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