About Vale

Our History in Canada

​Canadians have been working in and benefitting from the mining industry for more than a century. At Vale, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in Canada and we’re excited about what the future holds.

Explore our history, decade by decade, achievement by achievement, below.

1901 – The first ore is shipped from Creighton Mine, Ont.
 

1916 – International Nickel Company of Canada Limited is incorporated as a subsidiary of the U.S.-based International Nickel ​Company.
 

1918 – Port Colborne refinery starts up. 
 

1919 – International Nickel Company begins using the trademark name, “INCO”.
 

1928 – The company is selected as one of the components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
 

1939 – King George VI and Queen Elizabeth are the first members of the British Royal family to visit the nickel operations in Sudbury, Ontario. The Queen becomes the first woman to go underground, in the Frood Mine.
 

1939–1945 – International Nickel delivers 1.5 billion pounds of nickel, 1.75 billion pounds of copper and more than 1.8 million ounces of platinum metals to the allied countries during World War II. The company mines the same amount of ore during the war as it did in the 54 preceding years.
 

1946 – International Nickel is the first Canadian company to use the Airborne Magnetometer in geophysical prospecting.
 

1953 – International Nickel begins construction of an iron ore plant near Copper Cliff, Ontario.
 

1954 – The world’s tallest smelter chimney, 637 feet above ground level, is erected in Sudbury to serve the iron ore recovery plant of International Nickel. 
 

1956 – A major nickel ore discovery is confirmed near what would become Thompson, Manitoba, prompting International Nickel to announce plans for development of a nickel-mining centre there. 
 

1958 – A new process is developed at the Port Colborne, Ontario, refinery for the recovery of nickel by the direct electrolysis of nickel matte.
 

1959 – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip visit the Frood Mine near Sudbury, where the Queen’s parents had visited 20 years earlier.
 

1969 – The mining and refining enterprise at Thompson is officially dedicated on March 25. During the year, it gets up to full production, making the company the second-largest producer of nickel in the world. 
 

1966 – The J. Roy Gordon Laboratory at Sheridan Park, in Toronto, opens on September 1. 
 

1969 – The company completes the sinking of the 7,138-foot No. 9 shaft at 69-year-old Creighton Mine. It’s the deepest continuous mine shaft in the Western Hemisphere. 
 

1972 – A 1,250-foot chimney with a gas cleaning system is commissioned at the Copper Cliff smelter to improve air quality in the surrounding area.
 

1973 – The new $140-million Copper Cliff Nickel Refinery officially opens, introducing nickel pellets into the North American market. 
 

 


 


 


 

1980 – Plans are announced to build a cobalt refinery at Port Colborne, Ontario, with annual capacity of two million pounds of metal.

1981 – Space Shuttle Columbia makes its first flight, using nickel alloys in its main engines and other components. 
 

1984 – The company develops a new process for separating precious metals, enabling the company to recover essentially all the gold and silver in its Ontario ores.
 

1986 – Thompson Open Pit in northern Manitoba comes into production on schedule and under budget.
 

1989 – The company is awarded the silver medal in the productivity category at the Canadian Business Excellence Awards ceremony. The company becomes one of the world’s lowest-cost nickel producers.
 

1990 – The company invests $10 million in its J. Roy Gordon Research Laboratory in Mississauga, Ontario, for developing a new nickel-plating processes and new, more economical extraction methods.
 

1991 – A new plant is announced for the Copper Cliff smelter as part of a $530-million sulfur dioxide abatement project.
 

1994 – New facilities open at the Copper Cliff Nickel Refinery for the production of electrode substrates, such as nickel foam used in rechargeable batteries.
 

1995 – The company buys a 25-per-cent interest in the Voisey’s Bay nickel-copper-cobalt project, discovered by prospectors looking for diamonds in the area. The discovery is hailed as the largest and most anticipated project in development at the time.
 

1996 – The company acquires 100 per cent of the Voisey’s Bay project. 
 

2000 – Plans are announced to deepen Manitoba’s Birchtree Mine to extend the life of the site by at least 15 years.
 

2002 – Working with the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the company announces the creation of a statement of principles regarding the development of the Voisey’s Bay nickel-copper-cobalt deposits. Separate Impacts and Benefits Agreements are finalized with the Labrador Inuit Association and the Innu Nation.
 

2003 – A mini-pilot plant opens at Sheridan Park, Mississauga, to test hydrometallurgical processing technology for Voisey’s Bay concentrates.
 

2006 – Brazil’s Vale announces $19.4-billion takeover bid.
 

2007 – Shareholders approve the takeover.
 

2009 – The company adopts new corporate name worldwide: Vale S.A.
 

2010 – Plans are announced for the phasing out of smelting and refining in Thompson by 2015.
 

2011 – Plans to evaluate the building of a major potash mine in Saskatchewan are announced. 
 

2011 – Peter Poppinga becomes Executive Director, Base Metals Business and CEO, Vale Canada Ltd.. 
 

2014 – Totten Mine opens, marking Vale's first new mine in the Sudbury Basin in over 40 years. It utilizes some of the best technology, automation and environmental management in the mining industry. ​​​​