August 11, 2009 / 4:48 PM / 9 years ago

Vale Inco's Manitoba ops shut for maintenance

* Other Canadian facilities shut due to strikes

TORONTO, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Vale Inco VALE5.SA has shut down its Thompson, Manitoba, nickel mines and processing facilities for scheduled maintenance, the company confirmed on Tuesday, meaning all its Canadian operations are currently silent.

The shutdown comes as the Brazilian company’s other operations in Canada have been shut by strikes.

About 3,200 workers went on strike last month at Vale’s Ontario operations in Sudbury and Port Colborne, while 135 workers at the Voisey’s Bay mine in Newfoundland and Labrador struck at the beginning of August.

Vale spokesman Cory McPhee said no talks have been scheduled in either dispute, but the Thompson operations will restart in September.

“This is a regularly scheduled shutdown,” he said.

“It’s unrelated to any of the others going on in terms of labor disputes. It’s something that’s been planned for some time, realizing that certain work can’t be done when the operation’s running.”

Vale acquired the Canadian assets when it bought nickel miner Inco in 2006.

The Thompson operations consist of three mines, a mill, a smelter and a refinery that produces more than 130 million pounds of electrolytic nickel annually, according to the company’s website.

$1=$1.10 Canadian Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Rob Wilson

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