Sudbury must become ‘self-sustaining’ – Vale by Jonathan Migneault (Sudbury Star – October 18, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Vale’s Sudbury operations must become “self-sustaining,” according to a letter sent to the company’s global operations Wednesday by Peter Poppinga, CEO of Vale Canada Ltd.

What that will mean to the company’s Sudbury operations and its 4,000-plus employees will become clear by the end of the week.

“In every area that we operate, there will be conversations with employees about specific actions that can be taken at those sites,” said Cory McPhee, Vale’s vice-president of corporate affairs. “Sudbury is no different.”

McPhee said Vale needs to make changes to improve efficiencies and control costs, while facing a difficult base metals market hampered by weak prices and demand.

He said representatives from the company will be speaking with employees across its global operations, including in Sudbury, before the end of the week to go over exactly what they mean by becoming more “self-sustaining.”

Rick Bertrand, president of Steelworkers Local 6500, said employees in Sudbury have not yet had those conversations with Vale.

He said Wednesday’s letter was similar to one the company sent out eight weeks ago and that one did not result in any major shakeups.

In September, Vale imposed a hiring freeze its operations worldwide — including Sudbury — while the Brazil-based miner said it had to deal with challenges associated with a huge drop in commodity prices, including nickel and copper.

At that time, Poppinga wrote to top-level managers last week, saying Vale base metals leaders are reviewing “every aspect of our business as we speak.”

In an email obtained by The Star, Poppinga told top-level managers the key to short-term and long-term stability is to “reinvent, reshape and turn around” the business.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website:—vale