In 2001, the Falconbridge Nickel Mines Ltd was undergoing a newly developed exploration phase that was being aimed at find small to medium deposit zones above 1,500 meter level. More so the company was now engaging its self towards finding other deposit locations that would additionally be transformed into small open-pit operations by 2003. This newly developed plan has already outlined over 17 million tonnes of resources within the last two years.
After completing several diamond drilling explorations that totalled 72 meters of surface drilling, the Falconbridge Nickel Mines Ltd. would move on another phase in 2004. During this time period the mine was also officially named the Nickel Rim South Mine Project. Almost all these newly developed phases had started to transform this mining zone when the company decided it was time to go underground. A total of 11 million dollars was considered to have been spent on this whole entire drilling phase that was performed on the Rim Deposit zone. Company officials originally named this operation the Nickel Rim South Mine as it was located to the south-east, and had been called the Rim Deposit Zone since the time of this discovery area. All examinations soon determined that the Nickel Rim South ore-body is known to form between 1,200 meters and 1,750 meters below the ground. On March 2004, company officials from the Falconbridge Nickel Mines Ltd. had determined that the foot-wall contains a 6.5 Million Tonne mineralization that averages 1.5% Nickel, 5.8% Copper, 0.02% cobalt, 0.2 grams of gold, 6.2 grams of silver, 0,6 grams of platinum, and 0.6 grams of palladium resources. Further examination studies soon became conducted on the Contact zone that estimated to contain 300,000 tons of ore that average 2.4% Nickel. 0.3% Copper, and 0.06% Cobalt, with 2.1 grams of silver, 0.1 grams of platinum, and 0.1 grams of Palladium,
In general being the Sudbury area is rather considered to accommodate two different types of Nickel Formation Zones. One of these formations is considered to be uncovered around the edge of the Basin that forms a melt sheet that's caused by the Meteorite Impact. Another formation was discovered within the contact zone that tends to be concentrated by accumulations of massive sulphides in embayment's or depressions along the crater floor. Most of the whole entire foot-wall deposit was mainly formed by a migration of Copper Bearing liquid sulphides into the underlying Brecciated foot-wall rocks of the Sudbury Igneous Complex, which comes in narrow veins and massive zones. This whole section of the mining operation is rather considered to contain a high-grade copper and platinum group of elements. Soon enough the Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited had totalled another 500,000 tonnes of ore that was contributed to the Nickel Rim South Mine.
By March, 2004, the company was now ready to further expand its mining operation by going underground, and spending 368 Million US on this whole project within five years. Company officials now wanted to go underground with its Nickel Rim South Project as it was worthy enough to construct this mining operation further. Once this phase becomes officially completed, the company will than undergo another costly phase of $185 million US to fully make this mine go into production by 2010. Nickel from he mine is also considered to be very high-grade, which makes this mining operation the only lowest costing production within Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Because the Nickel is so high in grade it will roughly cost around 60 to 70 cents per a pound of processed ore. Within the same year company officials had now started to proceed with this massive development project. In addition the sinking of two large scale shafts would soon commence during 2004, when the Nickel Rim South Mine was in full swing. This type of method was considered to have eliminated a lot of down time than sinking the exploration shaft first. All of this was also done because company officials had known that the mineralization was rather high-grade.
By 2009, the mine was now being operated by a new mining that had taken over Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited. Company officials started to immediately proceed with this development by planning out their very own engineering plan. In addition the company was on a mission to fully extend this project by adding !0,000 feet of lateral development by the end of this year. As this becomes completed the next stage becomes conducted as the company will now proceed with 80,000 meters of diamond drilling phases below ground levels. Further into planning the company is also focusing on developing its very own 2,500 meter long Internal Ramp. All Lateral Development and shaft sinking phase became awarded to Cementation Canada as it was given the contract to proceed with this development. Another contract was split both ways between HATCH and McIntosh Engineering to proceeded with Engineering, Mine Planning, and the development of all buildings and infrastructure. Company officials from Xstrata also became known for developing this mine in a safe manner within this operation. It soon became very evident that the company would have reached 3 million person hours without a single lost time accident. A huge amount of people soon dedicated their own time towards developing this Nickel Mining Operation. In addition the contracted company would place many different sub-contracts that hired 4,300 people to construct this project. This whole entire contracting business would soon employ 380 businesses and organizations towards this project within 4 an 1/2 years of getting it started.
Before any mining was to be started the company was rather responsible for clearing away 10 Hector acres in order to develop the much needed structures. As the whole entire development phase was started it soon became evident that all the ore was going to be trucked to Xstrata's Strathcona Mill Facility in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. This mining operation rather does not have its own milling facility as the company already owns a few of them within Sudbury. Once the land was officially stripped, the contracted company was now on another move, when HATCH-McIntosh Ventures had started developing the mines ventilation and production head-frames that became associated with the Hoist House. Further within this development the company also proceed with its very own Fuel and Lubrication Facility, Shop, Pump House, Electrical Sub-Station, and Sewage Treatment Plant. Besides developing all the much need structures, the company also had paved the whole entire 10ha lot in order to prevent any contamination from spills. More so this whole entire paving phase will increase the protection of the environment that surrounds the mine. A holding pond will also be added to this whole entire production business that will be stationed at the back of this mining operation.
The shaft operation it self during this time period was officially sunken to a depth of 5495 feet below the surface. As the shaft became further blasted and drilled, the company would move onto another phase when it had installed a Nordberg Hoist System. Nevertheless this hoisting system would provide transportation to and from the mining operation. Company officials will than start to expand this project once this becomes completed. It will than allow the drilling, and mechanical crew to further development this operation. However, the cage alone is only able to handle 6 people at a time as its being used temporary within 2009. Almost all the mines equipment and supplies would also be transported by this small hoisting cage to the workings below. Nevertheless it soon became evident that all the mine exhaust was pretty much leaving the working below but was quite completed within this time period. Company officials from HATCH-McIntosh Ventures will than install two 1,400 H.P Howden Fans to eliminate this exhaust from the working in a much faster pace.
Another shaft operation known as the Production Shaft is the next biggest shaft to be sunken to a depth of 5,692 feet. During this time period the company would also fully install its very own cage, which was accommodated by a pair of 17.7 T-Skips, and a 12 person Marryanne. This whole entire shaft is operated by a 4.5 Meter Diameter Davy Markham Double Drum Hoist from England. As development continued the companies decided to construct this magnitude shaft into two compartments. Its also being used as a way to allow fresh air into this mining operation.
The first level to become fully developed was known to have been stationed on the mine's 4,199 foot section. Production from this level is also opened by a drift section that's engineered to be in the shape of an oval. Another level that was determined as the second level was being opened up by a drift section on the mine's 4,855 foot section. Further into constructing this mining operation the company was on another mission when another drift was opened up on the mine's 5,446 foot section. Each level alone has its very own garage for storing unwanted equipment, and the supplies that are needed within this huge project. Some other changes also occurred on the Mine's 4,199 foot section as a new Sub-Station became constructed. Almost all engineering plans within this operation had developed the much safer methods of Scaling, Bolting, washing, and Shot-Concreting. Washing procedures within the mine are done by high-pressure water scalers that remove the loose material from the walls and back sections. Each level alone will included one of these scalers as its rather need to safely remove loose material without causing any injuries within this production. Besides installing high-pressure water scalers, the company will also added Power Magazines, Refugee Stations, fueling stations, and its very own Shotcrete System. Small size boxes that we're cut within the solid barren rock had became used as temporary Refugee Stations till the company had fully designed its own Refugee Stations on each level of the Nickel Rim South Mine Project. With the larger cage in service, the job of handing over the mine to Xstrata crews begins. This will be accomplished in three steps. The first crew began training at the beginning of June and will be deployed in the mine as soon as the production cage goes into service. They will work on level 1280 to prepare it for mining the ore in April 2009. The second crew will begin training in December to take over level 1480 from development crews in January 2009. The third crew will take charge of level 1660 in July 2009 following a month of training. The production crews will be drawn from Xstrata’s existing workforce. Nickel Rim South boasts an 18.2 million tonne resource distributed almost equally between two adjacent ore-bodies: a copper and precious metal-rich footwall zone with copper grades averaging 7% and a contact zone grading 2% nickel. The top of the contact ore-body is roughly 1200 metres below surface and the footwall bottoms out at 1700 metres. The full production capacity is slated for 1.25 million tonnes per year, translating into a 15-year mine life. The mine is served by two shafts sunk by Cementation Canada: a main shaft extending to the 1735-foot level and a ventilation shaft bottoming out at 1,685 metres. The project began producing ore in May. By the end of June, it was producing 40,000 tonnes per month, and by October, monthly ore production is expected to reach 90,000 tonnes.