June 22, 2010 / 7:47 PM / in 7 years

UPDATE 1-Vale, Sudbury union making progress -mediator

* Mediated talks between both sides to continue

* Company and union have agreed to a media blackout

TORONTO, June 22 (Reuters) - Mediated talks aimed at ending a nearly year-long strike at Vale’s VALE5.SA Sudbury operations have made significant progress and will continue, the mediator said on Tuesday.

The Brazilian miner and the United Steelworkers union began their most recent round of talks on Saturday under the supervision of a mediator appointed by the Ontario provincial government.

“Considerable progress has been made. The mediation process is continuing,” mediator Kevin Burkett said in a statement about the talks.

The company and union have agreed to a media blackout, while contract talks are being conducted.

The Sudbury walkout, which began July 13, 2009, and a parallel strike at Vale’s smaller Voisey’s Bay mine in Eastern Canada, have affected about 10 percent of global nickel production and lesser amounts of copper and precious metals.

The Sudbury operations in mineral-rich northern Ontario have been running at partial capacity for months, using non-unionized workers and outside contractors. (Reporting by Cameron French and Euan Rocha)

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