You have to see it to bee-lieve it

About Vale

6/26/2017

You have to see it to bee-lieve it

The bees are kept in a covered trailer to protect them from the honey-loving bears that roam the site / Vale Archive

In celebration of Environment Week, and our company theme, Biomes hold the life we care for, Vale News brings you a story about our bee colony in Sudbury. Vale is proud to host a colony of honeybees at our Ontario Operations as part of a project that has brought new life to an environmentally stressed plot of land.

The bees were introduced in 2014 to help reclaim and naturalize a slag pile at our Copper Cliff site. Slag – a waste product of the smelting process – had been poured onto the pile in molten form. When it cooled and hardened, it became a black, rock-like material.

Starting in 2006 the area was re-graded, topped with a layer of clay and earth and re-seeded with wildflowers, grass, tree seedlings from our greenhouse and other more mature trees.

Then came the bees. Three hundred and fifty thousand of them to start, and the colony continues to grow.


Most of the honey is used to feed the bees over the winter / Vale Archive

They were installed in a covered utility trailer to protect them from the honey-loving bears that occasionally roam the site. Now, the bees are thriving and producing honey. Most of the honey is used to feed the bees over the winter but in time, we hope to produce enough surplus honey to donate to our local food bank.

But the bees aren’t just giving us their honey. By pollinating the wildflowers we planted, they’re helping to enhance biodiversity on the re-greened slag community and in the community that surrounds it. The slag pile is now aesthetically pleasing for area residents and welcoming to a wide array of wild creatures.

Our relationship with the bees is symbiotic: We provide them with a safe home in a field of flowers at a time when honeybee populations are in decline worldwide. They help further re-green our site by pollinating flowers far and wide.

And the sweetest thing of all: They share their honey.

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You have to see it to bee-lieve it