Feds to Vale: Here's $1 billion and a lake too
It should be added to recent reporting on the $1 billion Export Development Canada loan to Brazilian mining giant, Vale S.A., that Ottawa is also throwing in a lake - or is in the last stages of doing so. Vale reportedly plans to use $250 million of the unsecured loan (officials say they trust Vale) for Vale's proposed nickel refinery at Long Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador. The company plans to use nearby Sandy Pond as a toxic tailings dump, sealing the fate of aquatic life that includes prize-winning trout. An environmental coalition has taken the Sandy Pond case to federal court, arguing that a Fisheries Act amendment allowing dumping contradicts the act itself. (It allows lakes to be reclassified as "tailings impoundment areas" and a dozen more are already on the list.) There has been no decision yet from the court, but it would be a surprise if Sandy Pond escapes a grim fate.
The loan is structured to offer $500 million upfront and the rest of the money if Vale shows itself to be giving more goods and services/support contracts to Canadian companies. The Steelworkers union is critical of the deal, especially since the union's membership in Sudbury and Labrador have just been through an 11-month strike. They see it as a "reward" to the company once known as Vale Inco (previously Inco).
Hard to argue this isn't one sweet deal.