It could be a month now before nearly 500 workers at Coleman Mine in Levack can return to work. Last week Vale temporarily suspended operations at the mine to undertake repairs to a ventilation compartment in the shaft.
“Upon further analysis of the work by our maintenance and engineering teams, it is now expected that the repair work will continue into December,” Vale said in an updated statement Tuesday.
That means the mine is now “on short-term shutdown, and our employees at Coleman will be temporarily laid off for the period of the repair,” according to Vale. While the company did not indicate exactly how long that repair work might take, Steelworkers Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand said his impression is it could be a month.
“There’s been conversation about mid-December, but we don’t know if it will be longer or shorter,” he said. “It’s a really bad situation and a bad time with Christmas coming. We have a lot of young members with young families, and it’s really impacting them, for sure.”
Bertrand said the union is “definitely not happy with the decision,” especially since the work is something that “we feel could have been done a long time ago.”
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