Glencore heading to new depths with new 'Onaping Depth' project
It was a packed room at Bryston's in Copper Cliff as some of the region's best and brightest from the business community came out to hear from a mining giant.
Glencore vice-president Peter Xavier was the key-note speaker at the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting where he updated the chamber on the latest in their world.
One of the biggest projects that drew the interest of many was hearing where Glencore is with its newest project, 'Onaping Depth.'
"Our current asset base is coming to the end of its life and 'Onaping Depth' represents an investment that takes us out into the future," Xavier told CTVNews.
In terms of that asset base, he's referencing the Nickel Rim South Mine and Fraser Mine which would both wind down in 2023 and 2025 respectively.
Onaping Depth would be located roughly 2.5 kilometres under Craig Mine and would come at a cost of $1.3 billion as the company looks to access this new ore body.
"It's both a significant contribution and spend in the community for which the community benefits but also an indication of which the complexity, expense and time it takes to develop a deep mining ore body so it's also a challenge for the future to bring on these large capital investments, economically too, and that's really what's key for us to have an economically sustainable future in Sudbury," he explained.
Onaping Depth is just one of the many projects business leaders heard about during this presentation.
Xavier also touched on the company's plans to switch from diesel to electric vehicles, mine connectivity to reach employees underground and a joint operation on an ore body that straddles both Glencore and Vale property.
"We've mined on each other's sides of the boundary for years with different ore bodies and different arrangements for many years and collaborated in different ways but ya you're right this is a new opportunity and I think it's just the way the boundaries intersect, the geology of these ore bodies that make this a unique opportunity," he said.
Talk of new investment comes at a good time. The price of nickel is up and many analysts say it will be in demand as precious metals continue to be needed in the development of batteries for electric vehicles.
Xavier says the future for Glencore will be accessing these deeper ore bodies and they will come at a greater cost to mine.
Glencore is hoping to reach the 2,300 level by early 2023 as it continues to build and mine on some of the existing infrastructure already in place.
It's positive and welcome news for a business community that relies heavily on the mining sector.
"It's always exciting when any of our major miners or the juniors are giving us updates or making announcements about investments in our community. We rely on mining in part to help keep the Sudbury economy growing.," said Neil Milner, the new chair of the chamber.
Sudbury's unemployment rate in August was 8.6 per cent.
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