January 29, 2009 / 6:52 PM / 9 years ago

Voisey's Bay nickel shipments halted, Vale says

TORONTO, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Vale Inco VALE5.SA has stopped shipping nickel concentrate from the Voisey’s Bay mine in Eastern Canada until it hammers out an agreement with the province of Newfoundland and Labrador over a proposed nickel processing plant.

The deadline to come to an agreement over plans for a lower-cost, hydro-metallurgical processing plant in the province had been extended from Dec. 31 to Jan. 22, but that date has now passed with no deal.

Vale Inco has agreed to stop shipping concentrate out of the province to its smelters in Central Canada until an agreement is reached, a company spokesman said.

Until then, Voisey’s concentrate is being stockpiled at the mine, while smelters in Sudbury, Ontario, and Thompson, Manitoba, will burn through on-site stockpiles.

“They’re not shipping now while there’s discussions with the province, but it’s not something that’s expected to impact (metal) production,” said Cory McPhee, a spokesman for Vale Inco.

Brazil’s Vale acquired the Canadian nickel assets when it took over Inco in 2006. (Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Rob Wilson)

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