Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Awards
The Innu and Inuit on the North Coast of Labrador have a deep cultural connection to the land-fast sea ice. During winter, the ice serves as a transportation route for harvesting and to access other coastal communities. Vale’s Voisey’s Bay mine is located in the region and uses the Anaktalak Bay shipping route to ship products and resupply the site. To minimize interference with Aboriginal traditional lifestyles and safe crossing of the ship’s track, Vale and the Labrador Inuit Association (now the Nunatsiavut Government) developed a Shipping Agreement, incorporating Inuit traditional knowledge and Inuit involvement to implement. Vale worked with Sikumiut Environmental Management, a local Inuit company, to develop a floating pontoon-type bridge. The pontoon bridges are deployed across the ship’s fresh track at key locations along the 40-kilometre shipping route. Once safe crossing locations are established, a communications system alerts residents of their locations as well as shipping activity.