Mining giant Vale said the company should be set to begin nickel processing in Long Harbour later this year.

The company said it will use imported ore from Indonesia, not Voisey's Bay, to get the facility up and running.

Jeff McLaughlin, vice-president of Vale's Newfoundland and Labrador operations, said the ore from Indonesia is purer than the Labrador product.

"It's an extremely pure product. The grade's about 70, 80 per cent nickel, whereas the grade of the material coming out of Voisey's Bay is 20 [per cent]," McLaughlin said.

"By using this purer product, we can utilize elements of the plant that are already completed to get us into production, start training our operators, and producing product from the province."

He said operations will start in Long Harbour in the second half of 2013, and ore from the Voisey's Bay mine will be gradually introduced to the facility in 2014.

The latest price tag on the Long Harbour facility is $4.25 billion.