Vale Manitoba Operations mining manager Gary Eyres announced May 29 that the company would be voluntarily providing an additional $600,000 to the city on top of the negotiated grant-in-lieu amount of $3 million that it was committed to providing this year.
This was in spite of the fact that Vale Manitoba Operations failed to meet the positive cash-flow target of US$20 million in 2018, which would have triggered an additional $1.2 million grant–in-lieu payment for 2019.
The grant-in-lieu is money that the company pays instead of property taxes, as its operations are outside Thompson city limits.
“Vale remains committed to the community of Thompson and the region,” said Eyres, who spoke to the Thompson Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, in a City of Thompson press release. “We appreciate the challenges facing the City of Thompson and despite falling short of the threshold, we felt there was more we could do.”
Council approved a four-year grant-in-lieu agreement in January 2018 that saw Vale provide $4.8 million in 2018 and $3 million this year and for the next two years until the agreement expires at the end of 2021. About half-a-million of last year’s grant-in-lieu was allocated to the city’s general reserve. In 2018, the city also stopped providing a portion of the grant-in-lieu to the School District of Mystery Lake, which had previously received about 20 per cent of the money each year.
The amount that Vale is now providing this year, $3.6 million, is just over 10 per cent of the city’s 2019 budget of S34.8 million. Last year’s contribution represented about 15 per cent of a $31.5 million budget, through the city actually underspent that amount by about $3 million.
“Vale is undergoing its own big changes, just like the rest of our community.,” said Mayor Colleen Smook in the city press release. “Still, Thompson's quality of life is an important part of Vale’s own corporate success in the region, and we’re glad to see that they continue to recognize this important relationship.”
Council has yet to determine how it will use this additional $600,000, the city says.