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Two Sudbury mining giants partner as Nickel Rim mine ramps down


Glencore's Nickel Rim South Mine is winding down operations with an eye on closing in 2024.

Vice-president Peter Xavier said the mine has been important to the company since its inception in 2010.

He said exploration extended the mine’s lifespan from 2021 to 2024, but Glencore has been planning its closure for some time.

This will create an opportunity to partner with the city’s other mining giant, Vale.

"In Nickel Rim’s case, we're doing a joint study with Vale and an opportunity there,” Xavier said.

“We're looking to get approval (for a) feasibility study, which means there an opportunity to use that infrastructure for future mine opportunity.”

He said the two have partnered in the past, but this collaboration will be unique because they both share a property line.

Glencore's Nickel Rim South Mine is winding down operations with an eye on closing in 2024. (Photo courtesy of Glencore)

A large number of workers at South Mine will retire, while others will be dispersed to work at other local mines.

"It’s a continual progression as the mine advances and needing less and less people towards the end, so that ramp down has been happening through most of this year into next year," Xavier said.

Gary Poxleitner works as a practice leader and principal consultant at SRK Consulting, a global firm that deals with anything mining-related, including mine closures and mine planning.

Poxleitner said the Vale-Glencore collaboration isn't unusual, describing it as an exciting opportunity for Sudbury.


"It'll benefit Sudbury in the sense of jobs, support suppliers, equipment manufacturers and services," he said.

Poxleitner said the partnership makes sense.

"There are tons of resources within close to two kilometres, so it's very expensive for one side to mine it," he said.

"It makes sense to mine it together."

Whether the partnership will work, Poxleitner said, will come down to the feasibility report.

"The feasibility study includes, and answers the questions, How do we mine it? What equipment is going to be used? How many people do we need to do it? And what's the environmental impact?" he said.

Poxleitner estimates that could take some time, up to a year.

At the end of March 2024, Glencore said it will have a small workforce on site for care and maintenance and will continue to focus on its depth mine in Onaping. Top Stories

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