Vale has unveiled plans to invest $121m (C$150m) to extend the life of nickel mines in Manitoba, Canada, by ten years.

The investment will be used to fund the first phase of the planned two-phase expansion project of the Thompson Mine, where orebody mining started in 1961.

Work under phase one covers critical infrastructure, including new ventilation raises and fans, along with increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. Phase one aims to improve the current production capacity by 30%.

Vale base metal executive vice-president Mark Travers said: “This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades.

“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”

Moreover, a part of the investment will be used to fund exploration drilling aimed at identifying new mineralisation and to further define known orebodies.

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By GlobalData

Vale Manitoba operations general manager Gary Annett said: “We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba.”

Vale currently operates two underground metal mines, namely Thompson T1 Mine and Thompson T3 Mine, as well as a mill adjacent to the City of Thompson.

Recently, Vale’s Canadian subsidiary Vale Canada agreed to divest a 20% stake in PT Vale Indonesia to state-controlled PT Indonesia Asahan (Inalum).