Expected mine life at Vale’s Voisey’s Bay will be extended about 15 years, to 2035, thanks to an agreement reached by the Newfoundland and Labrador government and Vale that will extended mining underground.
The deal will allow Vale to export more ore from Voisey Bay for the three years without it being processed inside the province.
The government will get financial compensation of $100 million for the exemption involving nickel extracted from the mine on Labrador's northern coast.
The agreement significantly extends the commercial life of the Voisey's Bay mine, which is considered one of the world's largest nickel finds, CBC News reported.
Vancouver-based Diamond Fields Resources discovered the massive deposit of nickel, cobalt and copper in 1993 and the first concentrate was shipped in 2005 by then owner Inco.
Until now, production has focused solely on the surface of the mine.
Vale had estimated that it can run the surface phase of the mine for about 14 years.
About 450 people work at the mine and concentrator.
The agreement on underground mining will mean significant royalties for the Newfoundland and Labrador government, employment at the Labrador mine and production at a Vale processing facility in southern Newfoundland that is expected to go into production in the coming months.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale attended a news conference with Jeff McLaughlin, a Vale vice-president responsible for operations in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as other officials.