Vale Canada made a splash at the Prospectors and Developers Association annual conference in Toronto with news that a feasibility study of its Copper Cliffs Deep nickel project in Sudbury will be completed by year’s end.
Kelly Strong, Vale’s vice-president of Ontario and UK operations, told Reuters that the project could in the range of $1 billion to build with the aim that it will be one of the miner's lowest cost operations.
"It's going to look a little bit different than the original project - it's going to be three phases," Strong told Reuters.
The project would merge and expand two separate mines that were mothballed after the 2008 recession. A re-evaluation of the project began in 2010.
The first phase could start production within two to three years, but the final green light depends on getting the word from the Vale board in Brazil.
Strong shed no new light on a possible merger between Vale and its crosstown rival in Sudbury, Glencore Xstrata Plc, to consolidate operations in the basin.
"Last year we had some conversations. We had committed to getting back together and having conversations in '14, but that hasn't occurred yet and there's really nothing new to report at this time."