Construction underway on infrastructure for Vale's $750M Copper Cliff mine expansion

Construction is underway in Copper Cliff on a set of massive ventilation fans to supply fresh and warm air to miners below, and there could be hundreds of new Vale hires underground in the years ahead.

New expanded Copper Cliff mine expected to open in 2021

Vale spokesperson Danica Pagnutti says the construction of the new ventilation system is an important milestone for the $750 million re-opening of the Copper Cliff Mine. (Erik White/CBC)

Construction is underway in Copper Cliff on a set of massive ventilation fans to supply fresh and warm air to miners below.

It's part of Vale's $750 million refurbishing of the existing Copper Cliff north and south mines.

Danica Pagnutti, the mining company's senior advisor on corporate and Indigenous affairs, says workers will be tackling new ore bodies beneath Copper Cliff beginning in 2021.

"This is really about the future of our operations here in Sudbury. It represents a major expansion and new sources of ore for our operations, so this is a very important project for us," she says.

"We're going to need 200 miners and 200 tradespeople and a whole host of supporting roles. It's a great time at Vale and we are hiring."

Construction on the new mine vent in Copper Cliff is expected to be complete this winter, with the mine scheduled to re-open in 2021. (Erik White/CBC)

The Copper Cliff south mine have been sitting idle since 2009 and much of the mine's infrastructure, such as the shaft, needs to be refurbished.

Pagnutti says the ventilation system is being equipped with sound dampening equipment so it won't bother those living near the mine.

She says Vale also plans to use the new Copper Cliff mine to experiment with autonomous electric scoop vehicles.

The mine could also be expanded in the future to mine ore bodies close to Kelly Lake that are currently being studied.

Crosstown rival Glencore is also looking to re-open an old mine, with $1 billion earmarked to be spent at the old Craig mine.

That project, which Glencore calls "Onaping Depth", is expected to be at full production by 2025.


Erik White


Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to


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