Municipal Affairs and Environment

Registration 1040

Argentia Hydrometallurgical Demonstration Plant

Proponent: Voisey's Bay Nickel Company Limited (VBNC)

Summary of Environmental Assessment Process

Project Description:

  • VBNC proposes to build a Hydrometallurgical (Hydromet) Demonstration Plant at Argentia. The registration document contains a project description and information regarding the social, economic and environmental factors associated with the proposal. The proposed Plant would be a 'stand-alone' facility that would test hydrometallurgical processes for ultimate use in commercial plants, including the one proposed for Argentia. The hydrometallurgical processes involve treatment of nickel-copper-cobalt sulphide concentrate using pressure oxidative leaching with the subsequent recovery of copper, cobalt, and nickel.
  • The proponent proposes to build the plant on the property generally referred to as the north side of the former US Naval base at Argentia. The plant would be operated in a testing and trial mode to confirm process conditions and alternative designs. Additionally, the Plant would be used to test certain alternative equipment or process configurations to determine optimal design criteria for full-scale hydrometallurgical processing. This Registration is for the demonstration facility only. The construction phase will be approximately 16 months with an initial operating phase of two to three years.
  • November 12, 2002 - The undertaking was registered.
  • December 18, 2002 - Public comments were due.
  • December 27, 2002 - The Minister's decision was due.
  • December 23, 2002 - The Minister released the project from the environmental assessment process with conditions.
  • February 5, 2004 - The Minister announced that the Environmental Protection Plan has been approved.
  • December 3, 2004 - The Minister finds the Environmental Monitoring/Follow-Up Plan and the Human Resources Plan acceptable.

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