Vale says deal reached with striking Ontario miners

Mon Jul 5, 2010 9:42am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Vale said on Sunday it reached a tentative contract agreement with workers at its Sudbury, Ontario, nickel and copper mining operation, signaling the end of a bitter, year-long strike.

The Brazilian mining giant said it struck a deal with the United Steelworkers Local 6500 and 6200 representing production and maintenance employees at the company's operations in Sudbury and Port Colborne, Ontario.

Vale and the union will sign comprehensive memorandums of agreement on Monday, Vale said in a statement..

About 3,000 workers went on strike last July in Sudbury in a dispute over pensions, bonus issues and contract language.

A separate strike at Vale's Voisey's bay nickel mine in eastern Canada began last August.

The Sudbury and Voisey's Bay operations together produce about 10 percent of the world's nickel, as well as sizable amounts of copper, cobalt and precious metals.

Mediators called off talks aimed at ending the Sudbury strike last week because of a deadlock over eight or nine workers who were fired. The union wanted the company to allow the dismissed employees to get their jobs back.

Vale's statement made no reference to the issue of the dismissed workers, and a spokesman could not be reached immediately for further comment.

(Reporting by Frank McGurty; editing by Todd Eastham)