Voisey’s Bay Projects

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Voisey’s Bay Projects

In September 1993, prospectors exploring northern Labrador for diamonds discovered the Voisey’s Bay nickel deposit. It lies on the eastern edge of a vast expanse of northern wilderness, 350 km north of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. In 1996, Inco Ltd. acquired the rights to the Voisey’s Bay property. Voisey’s Bay Nickel Company (VBNC), the company responsible for developing the Voisey’s Bay project, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Inco Ltd. In October 2006 CVRD (Vale ) acquired control of Inco Ltd. and with the Inco purchase Vale got nickel mines in Canada including the Voisey’s Bay Mine Site

The Voisey’s Bay project consists of three major components: an integrated mine and concentrator at the Voisey’s Bay site in Labrador that processes ore from the Voisey’s Bay deposit; a demonstration hydrometallurgical plant in Argentia confirmed the technological and commercial application of hydrometallurgical technology for Voisey’s Bay concentrate; and, a commercial hydromet processing facility located in Long Harbour is presently under construction with completion scheduled for 2013.

The total Construction Camp (called A. Bay Camp) population at Voisey’s Bay during construction was 900, while the new Permanent Accommodation Complex completed in May 2005 for the mine operations had an initial capacity of 255 people including a pre-engineered Gym Facility. In the fall of 2006, a 42 Person Accommodation Unit was added on to A Wing of the permanent Accommodation Complex.

July 01, 2005 – December 31, 2014

The Voisey’s Bay mine site comprises 144 km2, 45 km2 of which is cleared and usable. Torngait Services Inc (TSI), ATCO Structures and Logistics’ (ASL)  joint venture with the Nunatsiavut Group of Companies (NGC), is responsible for the operation of all equipment, performance of general labour duties and the supervision of all employees involved in the provision of the following site services activities:

  • Loading, haulage, and storage of 3 separate concentrates
  • Operation of the port site including mooring, unloading and loading of containers, bulk and break bulk cargoes, fuel transfers and the loading of concentrates
  • Snow removal and ice control for access roads, parking lots, lay down areas, walkways and stairs
  • Daily transportation and distribution of fuel from the port fuel storage tanks to the mill and mine site’s tank farm.
  • Approximately 104,000 litres of diesel fuel per day is transported
  • Year round maintenance of all site roads and yards including dust control, excluding mine road
  • On site transportation of equipment and materials from location to location
  • Personnel bus transportation including to and from aircraft and to and from work locations
  • Provide labour required to offload and load aircraft freight and luggage
  • Operate the sand and gravel pit and aggregate plant to provide material for use site wide
  • Operate solid waste system including garbage collection, incineration and landfill
  • Operate sewage treatment plant and potable water supply systems
  • Miscellaneous duties to support the mining operation

The original value of this 6-year contract was approximately $47.5 Million and employed 65 regular employees; approximately 70 % of these employees are aboriginal.

In January 2012, the original Site Services Contract was renewed until December 31, 2014 with an additional value of $33 Million. The TSI staff allocation remains at 65 and includes a Site Services Superintendent, a Site Administration Clerk, a QC/Mine Planner and 6 Site Services Supervisors. The normal rotation is two weeks on two weeks off working 12 hours per day for a total of 168 hours per rotation.

Access to the site is via chartered aircraft with scheduled flights 5 days per week. All ore shipments are presently via ore carrier to Quebec City but in the future will be to Long Harbour once the processing plant is completed.

Additional services provided under this contract include:

  • Annual site Hydro-Seeding
  • Supervisor and operators for cleanup of major tailings spill January 2011
  • Construction of core racks for Exploration Department
  • Provide operators for upgrade of Reid Brook Exploration Road
  • Provide carpenters for renovations to Site Services Building
  • Provide carpenters for renovations to the 42 man units installed in 2006
  • Provide operators and supervisor for repairs to Headwater Pond tailing pipeline and barge
  • Provide operators for annual Capital Works Program

TSI as prime contractor and with Boart Longyear as the subcontractor has been providing Exploratory Diamond Drilling Services to the Voisey’s Bay Mine site since 2000. The initial contract was only for one (1) year but has been extended on a yearly basis with the latest extension being signed for the 2009 Drilling Program with a value of approximately $4.3 M. Contract Change Orders further extended this contract for the 2010 Drilling Program (value $4.4 M) and for the 2011 Drilling Program (value $ 6.6 M) drilling programs.

In 2012, a new contract was negotiated for the 2012-2013 Drilling Programs with an approximate value of $ 7 Million/yr. To complete the scope of these programs 5 drilling rigs will be operating on a 24/7 basis.

Boart Longyear Inc. (BLI), under contract with Torngait Services Inc. (TSI) provides the following services to the Voisey’s Bay Nickel Company (Vale):

  • Handles the operation of 5 drills, pressure pumps, necessary associated equipment and industrial diamonds, drilling tools, support and ancillary equipment.
  • Operates water supply pumps and water lines capable of pumping an adequate supply of water a maximum distance of 1,000 meters and through a vertical lift of 100 meters from supply source to the drill site.
  • Provides one Project Supervisor to oversee the diamond-drilling project, and two Drill Operators per rig.
  • Supplies rod grease, bentonite mud, polymers, cement or other additives required to operate efficiently and maximize core recovery and/or enhance hole stability.
  • Handles extra drilling duties as and when required to support the operation as directed by Vale.

While TSI supplies the following drilling support products and services to Vale:

  • Hire local Innu and Inuit drill helpers to assist in all aspects of the drilling operation.
  • A 4×4 service vehicle per drilling rig for transporting supplies and personnel on site.
  • Sufficient RTV’s, and snowmobiles for transporting TSI and BLI crews to and from remote drill sites.
  • Arranging through Vale for the transportation all personnel assigned to the project from their place of residence to the site and return. This includes initial mobilization of drill crew, regular rotations, unscheduled crew transportation and demobilization of crews upon project completion.
  • Advertise and arrange required training for Innu and Inuit drill helpers applicants
Scope of the Services 2005-2008

The Scope of Work consisted of the provision of engineering services for individual assignments arising from the operation of the mine, mill and related facilities at the Voisey’s Bay production site inLabrador. The Plant Maintenance Superintendent assigned the work items. The disciplines that were normally engaged in these assignments were mechanical, electrical and structural. Particular expertise was required in materials handling, mineral processing, and wear and corrosion evaluation and abatement.

Within the various disciplines and capabilities, the work assignments included the following, as noted in the contract :

  •  Technical problem solving
  • Asset integrity assessments and audits
  • Electrical co-ordination studies and protection calibration
  • Review, design and approval of field originated technical change requests.

Drawings were in Micro-station format and conformed to INCO standards for title blocks, borders, levels and colour.

The plant areas and systems for which assignments were required are:

  • Mine dewatering and water control system
  • Crushing and ore storing
  • Grinding and flotation
  • Slurry and material handling
  • Dewatering and filtering
  • Tailings and effluent disposal
  • Sewer, septic and waste disposal
  • Concentrate load-out
  • Port: concentrate stockpiling, reclaiming, ship loading, aggregate and concentrate crushing
  • Fire, process, potable and reclaim water systems
  • Power plant (power generation and heating)
  • Compressed air, fans, blowers, HVAC and dust control
  • Fuel unloading, storage and distribution
  • Service shops and accommodation complexes
  • Buildings and structures (bridges, culverts, towers)

The original duration of this contract was for one year from October 2005 to September 2006 with option to renew. However, the contract was extended by various change orders to the scope until the contract expired on June 06, 2008. The total value of this contract was in excess of $2 Million with approximately 55 different engineering assignments successfully completed

Description of contracts Construction Phase

Contract Title






Installation & maintenance of A Bay 900 man Construction Camp  

$10 Million


Completed within strict time line with construction in July 2004 of 100 man camp

Procurement of units, upgrading as req’d, installation including all w/ s servicing with marine outfall, water & sewage treatment plants
Construction Communications  

$2.5 Million


 Construction Completed


Communications Maintenance value $96 K added by FWI (Field Work Instruction)
Permanent Communications  

$2.05 Million

Aliant & Sango Tech

 Completed on Feb.28/06

$850 K Sango Tech material supply;Alliant supply and install $ 1.2M
Site General Services

Start June 01, 2003. 3-year contract.

 Value $30 million

Switch Electric supply of Electricians

Terminated July 01/05

Operation and maintenance of all Site Services utilities and infrastructure including W/S, Fuel, Ship offloading/Loading
Air Transportation Helicopters

Started June 01, 2003.  and Contract extended to Dec.31/05

$200,000 per year

Teaming Agreement with both Universal Helicopters and Canadian

Contract completed Oct.31/05

Acted as an agent for ordering charter helicopters
Accommodations Complex (255 man) with pre-engineered gym

July 2004- May 2005


JV between ATCO structures andKenthomes(AKI)

Completed May 14/05

 115,000sq ft facility.  TSI completed AKI Warranty work


Project Complexity

The following issues increased the project’s complexity:

a)      The mine site is remote; marine access only in summer time otherwise daily charter aircraft only for all passengers and freight

b)      Weather conditions with heavy snowfalls, high winds and extreme cold

c)      Hiring protocol with Aboriginal Industrial Benefits monitoring and adjacency principle for hiring

d)      Strict adherence to site regulations due to presence of wildlife

e)      There was a wide scope of services

Vale -Added Initiatives:

a)  Torngait Services saved the client money by managing the many different subcontracts

b)  Torngait Services used a Hiring Referral Committee documented for the client’s adherence to the adjacency hiring protocol.

c)  Torngait Services established an operations office in Goose Bay to quickly respond to site requirements and challenges plus provide logistics for all TSI personnel to and from site

d)  Torngait Services established a corporate office in St.John’s through its managing partner ATCO Structures and Logistics to provide overall management, financial, payroll, and accounting functions to the Project Team in Goose Bay and on site

Scope of Services 2008 – 2015

 The detailed Scope of Work performed by the Contractor includes the following:

 Annual inspection of all on site mobile cranes and manlifts listed below:

  • Manitowac, Model M 250 Series 2 Crawler Crane
  • Grove, Model RT600E Crane
  • Grove, Model RT9130E Crane
  • Shuttlelift Model 3340B
  • Genie Manlift Z30-20
  • Genie Manlift Z45-2
  • JLG Manlift 120HX
  • Versalift Line Truck
  • National 23.56 T TruckMountCrane
  • Amco-Veba 924, Knuckle Crane, Truck Mount

Any additional equipment that may be purchased and/or leased. Inspection to include but not limited to the following:

  • Inspect boom extend and retract cables
  • Inspect control mechanisms, and perform full function test of controls on all lifting equipment, and operate all implements on the equipment to ensure proper functions
  • Inspect all safety devices
  • Inspect air, hydraulic, lubricating, and cooling systems
  • Inspect all electrical apparatus
  • Inspect hydraulic swivels, lines, hoses, and control valves for wear and leakage
  • Inspect hooks, and swivels
  • Inspect operation of anti two block
  • Inspect clutches
  • Inspect brakes and tires
  • Inspect outriggers for cracks, wear on housings, wear pads, cylinders and lines for leaks, and proper operation of holding valves
  • Inspect outrigger boxes
  • Inspect rope reeving
  • Inspect all boom sheaves, wear pads, critical connections, stress points, and rotating bearing
  • Inspect main and auxiliary hoist blocks for wear and cracks, socket and wedge and hoist lines
  • Perform Load Test
  • Check for all required load charts and operator’s manuals to ensure they are available and legible
  • Review the Maintenance and Operator Log Books for any concerns that have been recorded since last inspection

Annual inspections to be supervised by a professional engineer competent in crane inspection. The inspection is to encompass all items in the daily and periodic inspections as well as all accessible structural elements. Structural inspections are to be carried out visually and by non-destructive inspection for critical or suspect areas. The visual inspector is to be certified under CSA standard W178.2 and the non-destructive inspector is to be certified under CGSB standards.

Load testing is required for cranes in which load bearing parts are repaired, replaced or altered. The test load is to be 100% of the rated load and the test is to be conducted by a professional engineer competent in such testing.

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