April 25, 2003
(Mines and Energy)


Ministers say adjacency principle at Voisey’s Bay will be followed

Mines and Energy Minister Walter Noel and Minister of Labour Percy Barrett say Voisey’s Bay Nickel Company Limited (VBNC) and Inco have to follow their commitments to the adjacency principle for the Voisey’s Bay project as stated in the legally binding documents.

Inco/VBNC first outlined its adjacency principle in June 1997. In a document entitled Basic Principles for Employment and Procurement VBNC outlined its commitment to adjacency. The adjacency section states that first priority, in terms of employment and the procurement of goods and services, will be given to residents and businesses located in communities which are adjacent to the company’s mine/mill in Labrador.

During the environmental panel hearings in 1998, VBNC expanded on its adjacency principle and said that first preference for hiring at the Voisey’s Bay site would be provided to qualified Aboriginals, second preference to qualified Labradorians, and third preference to qualified residents of the island portion of the province. Gender equity provisions were also established at that time.

"VBNC committed to follow its adjacency principle in the Development Agreement," said Minister Noel. "The project would probably not be going ahead without that commitment. VBNC has always been committed to the adjacency principle. Government will ensure it applies."

The ministers noted that in Section 4.11 of the Voisey’s Bay Development Agreement signed on October 7, 2002, VBNC agreed to abide by and implement the terms and conditions contained in the Voisey’s Bay Nickel Company Limited Mine/Mill Undertaking Order. This order released the company from further environmental assessment, but stated that all commitments made during the environment panel hearings must be followed, including VBNC’s commitment to adjacency.

Section 3(a) of the Undertaking Order states that VBNC will abide by the Environmental Impact Statement. Section of the Voisey’s Bay Mine/Mill Project Environmental Impact Statement, volume two, says that: "Hiring and training will be undertaken with consideration for Innu and Inuit peoples, residents in adjacent communities, and gender equity. Personnel will be qualified for the positions for which they are hired, for the purpose of safety and efficiency. Following that, the main principle governing hiring priorities is that of adjacency."

"The next step in the process will be the issuance of the Special Project Order (SPO) which my department has issued today," said Minister Barrett. "Special project orders help to provide long-term labour relations stability and certainty for construction projects. The Voisey’s Bay Special Project Order will acknowledge that the adjacency principle as referenced in the Voisey's Bay Nickel Company Limited Mine and Mill Undertaking Order and the commitments respecting employment made by the VBNC in the Innu and LIA Impacts and Benefits Agreements have application for the Voisey's Bay project."

This order follows a request from the Resource Development Council and Voisey’s Bay Employers Association (VBEA) earlier this year for the issuance of an SPO under the Labour Relations Act of the province and now validates the collective agreement negotiated by the parties and signed on December 19, 2002.

"VBNC has signed an agreement with this province which will enable the company to develop the Voisey’s Bay deposit in Labrador, as well as complete primary processing of the ore in the province," said Minister Noel. "We have worked together over the past several months to ensure the project moves forward from its initial stages to infrastructure development. This is a very important development for our province. It will produce enormous benefits for many years. We must all work together to ensure its success."

Media contact: Darrell Mercer, Mines and Energy, (709) 729-5777
Janice Lockyer, Labour, (709) 729-1741

2003 04 25               11: 50 a.m.

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