The Vale refinery and smelter in Thompson will remain open for a year longer than was originally planned, a company official said today.
Ryan Land, manager of corporate communications for the mining giant’s Manitoba operations, said the refinery and smelter will remain open until the end of 2015, instead of the end of 2014.
However, Land also confirmed that Vale may suspend mining operations at its Birchtree Mine next August unless ways can be found to boost production and reduce operating costs at the ageing mine.
And because of plunging iron ore prices, the company is also delaying for a year a decision on how to proceed with the $1-billion development of its new 1-D mine near Thompson, Land added.
He said the company is optimistic ways will be found to keep the Birchtree Mine open beyond next August. And the company is still committed to proceeding with the 1-D project. It’s just a question of when and how.
"1-D is the future of Thompson," he added.