Vale Ltd. has implemented a hiring freeze at its Sudbury operations as the company faces the challenge of nickel prices that dipped lower than $3.50 a pound this year.
The freeze has been in effect since early January, said Vale spokeswoman Angie Robson, “but even before that, through 2015 given market challenges, we have been very selective in terms of hiring.”
The only exception to the freeze is those roles critical to run the business safely and productively, said Robson.
Low metal prices are putting the squeeze on mining companies everywhere including Sudbury. It appears 2016 will be an extremely challenging year for Vale given the state of the market and the prolonged downturn in commodity prices, said Robson.
“We are under tremendous pressure to reduce our costs as much as we can … without compromising our values on safety, health and the environment,” she said.
The Brazil-based miner has been working with employees and external suppliers so the company can be successful now and in the longer term.
Vale continues to look for opportunities to postpone or defer spending in 2016. The schedule for the $1-billion Clean AER (Atmospheric Emissions Reduction) project has been adjusted somewhat to “smooth out” the company’s capital profile, said Robson.
Still, the project to retrofit the Copper Cliff Smelter Complex to meet government emission targets is 55 per cent complete and “significant work” is scheduled for 2016, she said.
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