Canada's safest mines hail from Vale

TORONTO, May 31 /CNW/ - Vale's steadfast commitment to health and safety was recognized by the mining industry today when the John T. Ryan Trophy, honoring Canada's safest metal mine, was awarded to the company's T1 and Birchtree Mines in Thompson, Manitoba.

This marks the sixth time in seven years that a Vale mine has been designated the safest in Canada.

Awarded by the Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM), the John T. Ryan Trophy goes to the metal mine with the lowest reportable injury frequency per 200,000 hours worked in Canada.

In a first for the award, T1 and Birchtree Mines tied for best safety performance in the country.

"I could not be more proud of our employees for their performance in winning this award," said John Pollesel, Chief Operating Officer for Vale's North Atlantic Base Metals operations. "It is because of our dedication to health and safety principles that we continue to be a national leader in this area."

Birchtree and T1 have decreased their respective medical aid frequencies by more than 50% over the last five years. Equally impressive is the fact that neither mine has experienced a Lost-Time Injury (LTI) in nearly two calendar years - a span of 690 days for T1 and 662 days for Birchtree.

While the Ryan trophy recognizes safety performance specific to the mines, Vale in Manitoba established new standards of safety excellence across the breadth of its Thompson operations last year. Taken together, the mines, mill, smelter and refinery have improved their combined disabling injury from a frequency rate of 7 in 2000 to an all-time low of 0.7 in 2010.

Vale attributes these achievements to the introduction of SafeProduction - a safety program adopted in Thompson in 2003 as a joint initiative of management, the United Steelworkers Union Local 6166 and employees.

The goal of SafeProduction is zero harm in a productive, sustainable workplace. Zero harm means that workplace activities will not cause any injury, illness or negative effect on employees, the workplace, the environment or the community. In pursuing this objective, Vale aims to create a healthy, safe workplace and clean, safe, prosperous communities for people today and in the future.

"There are 500 or so dedicated employees working at T1 and Birchtree mines and this award recognizes each and every one of them," said Pollesel. "With their efforts, our employees are embodying the company's objective to operate the safest mines in Canada, and around the world."

This trophy was also awarded to a Vale mine in 2005 (Birchtree Mine, Thompson), 2006 (Garson Mine, Copper Cliff), 2007 (Copper Cliff North Mine, Copper Cliff), 2008 (Copper Cliff North Mine, Copper Cliff), and 2009 (Copper Cliff North Mine, Copper Cliff).

SOURCE Vale Limited

For further information: Cory McPhee, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, 416-361-7669, cory.mcphee@vale.com

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