Xstrate Copper Canada to close smelter in Timmins, Ont.; 670 jobs to be lost

TIMMINS, Ont. — Xstrata Copper Canada plans to permanently close its Kidd metalurgical copper and zinc plants in Timmins, Ont., with the loss of 670 jobs.

TIMMINS, Ont. — Xstrata Copper Canada plans to permanently close its Kidd metalurgical copper and zinc plants in Timmins, Ont., with the loss of 670 jobs.

The shutdown is planned for May 1, 2010, in a rationalization of the company’s Canadian metallurgical operations.

The metals company, which was called Falconbridge before it was acquired by Swiss-based Xstrata PLC, said the Kidd mine and concentrator will remain in operation.

Xstrata cited several underlying global factors for the decision, including poor market demand and a strong Canadian dollar.

Ben Lefebvre, the chair of Canadian Auto Workers Local 599, called it a “devastating blow” to the union’s members, “particularly at this time of year.”

He added that hundreds of other jobs will be affected in Timmins and the surrounding communities.

“You can rest assured that we are not going to sit idly by and let this happen without a fight,” Lefebvre said in a statement.

“The federal government agreed to the takeover of Falconbridge by this foreign multi-national based on the fact that the deal would prove to be a net economic benefit to this country,” Lefebvre said. “Obviously that is not the case.”

Xstrata said eligible employees will be offered early retirement incentives and where possible, the company will try to offer work for employees at its other operations.

“Global smelting overcapacity is driving treatment and refining charges to record lows while the costs to operate and maintain these facilities continue to increase,” Claude Ferron, chief operating officer, said in a release.

“Our situation in Canada is exacerbated by a strengthening Canadian dollar. The requirement for further capital investment in these plants and lower sale prices for some byproducts, including sulphuric acid, have also negatively impacted the viability of these operations.”

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