Manitoba Government News Release – PREMIER VOWS FIGHT TO PROTECT JOBS IN THOMPSON [Manitoba]

November 17, 2010

Vale’s Proposed Shutdown of Smelter, Refinery Operations Completely Unacceptable: Selinger

Premier Greg Selinger today called on the owners of Vale’s Thompson operations to work with the Province of Manitoba, the City of Thompson and the United Steelworkers union to immediately seek alternative solutions to closing the smelter and refinery in Thompson by 2015.
“This decision comes without due notice or proper consultation with our government and the City of Thompson,” said Selinger.  “Vale’s intended course of action is unacceptable and our government stands firmly with the people of Thompson in saying this job loss will have a significant impact on the community and the province.”
The proposed shutdown of the Thompson smelter and refinery would result in a loss of about 500 jobs or 40 per cent of the current Vale Thompson workforce.
“We have a long and very successful history of supporting the mining industry through initiatives such as training, taxes and geoscience,” said Innovation, Energy and Mining Minister Dave Chomiak.  “I know the company, the province, the workers and the city can find a solution to this if all the players agree to come to the table.”
Manitoba’s fundamentals in the mining industry are sound, Chomiak noted.  The province was recently ranked second in Canada for competitiveness in mining taxes, according to the Price Waterhouse Coopers 2009 Canadian mining tax report.
“This decision, if it stands, would be a blow to the community,” said Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton. “Over the years, the Manitoba government has had a good working relationship with the owners of mining operations in the Thompson area and that is our goal moving forward.”