Xstrata Nickel and Vale have entered into a partnership agreement to expand Xstrata's Fraser mine in Ontario, Canada.
Xstrata Nickel will mine copper ore from Vale's ore deposits, which are accessible through Xstrata's Fraser mine, with the help of its existing shaft infrastructure.
The project is expected to have a mine life of ten years.
Vale's Coleman mine production will also be improved through supply of increased fresh air ventilation from Xstrata.
This will help improve working conditions and enable production and potential employment opportunities at Coleman mine, which has been scheduled to begin its production in 2012.
Vale's Ontario operations general manager Jon Treen said the agreement generates significant benefits to both companies and to the community as a whole by unlocking a resource that would not otherwise be utilised.