Municipal Affairs and Environment

Registration 1243

Long Harbour Nickel Commercial Processing Plant

Proponent: Voisey's Bay Nickel Company Limited

Summary of Environmental Assessment Process

Project Description:

The proponent proposes to construct and operate a hydrometallurgical processing plant (“Hydromet Plant”) to produce 50,000 tonnes annually of finished nickel product and associated copper and cobalt products. It is proposed to locate the Hydromet Plant on the south side of Long Harbour , Placentia Bay . The Hydromet Plant will require 65 hectares plus 85 hectares for pipelines and residue ponds. Construction at the site would require upgrades to the port of the former phosphorus plant owned by ERCO / Albright and Wilson Americas. Approximately 3.7 million cubic metres of clearing, grubbing, and rock excavation would be necessary. A 3 kilometre long road would be constructed from the port to connect the main plant preparation and processing buildings. Other construction would include: administrative offices and laboratories; 2 kilometre pipeline from Rattling Brook Big Pond for supply of 600 cubic metres per hour of process water; 3.8 kilometre pipeline to Sandy Pond for the disposal of 375,000 tonnes per year of neutralized slurry residue. Treated effluents totaling 3 million cubic metres per year will be discharged to the marine environment.

A Hydromet Plant is planned to be constructed if it is shown to be technically and economically feasible. Alternatively, a nickel-bearing matte plant (“Matte Plant”) is also proposed. Final selection between the two processing technologies will be made in 2008. The Matte Plant will require 65 hectares plus 40 hectares for sub-aerial disposal of gypsum residue; 106,000 tonnes per year of waste gypsum slurry would be transported 2 kilometres southeast by pipeline to the storage site surrounded by a 4 metre high containment berm; 5,900 tonnes per year of iron/arsenic residue would receive treatment and disposal at an off-site facility.

Construction is expected to commence in 2009 with the facility operational by 2012.

  • March 21, 2006y - The undertaking was registered.
  • April 25, 2006 - Public comments are due.
  • May 5, 2006 - The Minister's decision is due.
  • May 11, 2006 - The Minister announced that an EIS is required.
  • May 15, 2006 - The Minister announced that an Assessment Committee has been appointed.
  • September 6, 2006 - The Minister announced that the draft Guidelines for the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement are available for public review and comment.
  • September 15, 2006 - The Minister announced that the review period for public comments on the Draft EIS Guidelines has been extended until October 16, 2006.
  • November 3, 2006 - The Minister announced that the Final EIS Guidelines have been issued.
  • December 13, 2006 - The Historic Resources Component Study is received.
  • February 5, 2007 - The Historic Resources Component Study is accepted as satisfactory.
  • February 13, 2007 - The Socio-economic Component Study is received.
  • March 20, 2007 - The Human Health Component Study is received.
  • April 1, 2007 - Socio-economic Component Study is accepted as satisfactory.
  • May 1, 2007 - The Marine Environment Component Study is received.
  • May 2, 2007 - The Terrestrial Environmental Component Study is received.
  • May 11, 2007 - The Human Health Component Study is accepted as satisfactory.
  • May 29, 2007 - The Freshwater Component Study is received.
  • June 28, 2007 - The Marine Environment Component Study is accepted as satisfactory.
  • June 28, 2007 - Extension to deadline for Terrestrial Environment Component Study.
  • July 23, 2007 - The Marine Environment Component Study is accepted as satisfactory.
  • August 7, 2007 - The Human Health Component Study Final Text is accepted as satisfactory.
  • August 28, 2007 - The Terrestrial Environment Component Study Final Text is accepted as satisfactory.
  • August 31, 2007 - The Freshwater Component Study Final Text is accepted as satisfactory.
  • November 6, 2007 - The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is submitted.
  • January 16, 2008 - The Minister announced the EIS requires additional work.
  • April 15, 2008 - The EIS is resubmitted.
  • June 27, 2008 - The EIS is accepted.
  • August 26, 2008 - The undertaking is released subject to terms and conditions.
  • November 21, 2008 - The Environmental Protection Plan was received.
  • April 2, 2009 - The Environmental Protection Plan is accepted as satisfactory.
  • September 2, 2009 - The Women's Employment Plan is accepted as satisfactory.

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