10 years after takeover, Vale predicts ‘bright future’ for Sudbury mines (CBC News Sudbury – October 26, 2016)


Glencore declines to comment on 10th anniversary since Falconbridge purchase

Despite low nickel prices and rising costs, Vale is forecasting a bright future for its Sudbury mines. This week marks 10 years since the Brazilian iron ore company took over Sudbury-based Inco.

Stuart Harshaw is now Vale’s vice-president of Ontario Operations, but he started his career with the old Inco.He says his company has been good for Sudbury over the last decade and is quick to list off $4 billion in investments in local infrastructure, that he says would have been more difficult for a smaller company.

Most of the last decade has seen gloomy times for the mining sector, with slumping metal prices and rising costs with miners going deeper and deeper into the earth.But Harshaw predicts a rosy future for Vale operations in Sudbury, while acknowledging that changes lie ahead.

“Like everything, it’s going to evolve. We’re going to have different mines, expanding mines, some mines, eventually, will close,” says Harshaw.

“I see us really focusing in on reducing costs, making ourselves more productive and really ensuring the future of Vale in Sudbury and so to me that’s a bright thing.”

Interview requests to United Steelworkers Local 6500, the union representing the bulk of Vale workers in Sudbury, were not returned.

It’s also been 10 years since Falconbridge was taken over by Xstrata, which merged with Glencore a few years ago.

Glencore officials declined an interview.

But Unifor national mining director Richard Paquin, who was once president of the Mine Mill union representing Glencore workers, says relations with the new boss have been good.

“I mean there’s been rough patches, as always, you can’t agree on everything, but we’ve been able to amend it and carry on and do what we do best— make money for the company,” he says.

Unlike their counterparts at Vale who suffered through a year-long strike in 2009-10, Glencore miners and smelter workers haven’t been on strike since the takeover.

Paquin says his members hope that streak continues with their contract set to expire at the end of this year.

For the original source of this article, click here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/vale-glencore-future-sudbury-1.3821722