Voisey’s Bay close to deal

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

The giant mining company Inco Ltd. is close to reaching a deal with Newfoundland for the development of the nickel-rich Voisey’s Bay deposit in northern Labrador.

Inco has been trying to resolve some of the major hurdles to starting up the development at Voisey’s Bay: a compromise with Newfoundland over its demand that ore be processed in the province and an impact and benefits agreement with Labrador Inuit and Innu.

When Inco bought the nickel-rich Voisey’s Bay property in 1996 for $4.3 billion, it promised to build a smelter in Newfoundland to process the ore, but later pulled away from this commitment.

This caused Brian Tobin, the former premier of Newfoundland, to cut off negotiations in January 2002.

But the province’s new leadership has been more open to reaching a compromise with Inco.

Last fall, Inco submitted a new work plan to the Government of Newfoundland. The company’s new proposal to build a small ore processing plant in Newfoundland may have re-opened the way for an agreement.

Over its 30-year lifespan, the mine at Voisey’s Bay will supply hundreds of jobs and open up economic opportunities for Labrador Inuit. Voisey’s Bay lies a little more than 50 kilometres from the community of Nain.

If all parties can agree, work could begin as early as June.

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