Toronto: Vale Inco Ltd. said Tuesday it will cut about 900 jobs worldwide as it continues to restructure its operations.
The nickel miner said the cuts focus mainly on corporate, management and business support functions. Vale Inco is the Canadian subsidiary of Brazilian mining giant Vale.
Vale said they will cut more than 400 white-collar jobs in Canada.
Vale Inco CEO Tito Martins said the slump in nickel prices has made the company’s current operating structure unsustainable.
The company had said in December that it would cut 1,300 jobs from its global work force of about 60,000.
“It’s really a reaction to very challenging market conditions,” Vale Inco spokesman Cory McPhee said.
“We announced production cutbacks in December and we have been instituting internally a number of measures to control spending, but we did an exhaustive review of our company and our management structures in particular at the same time as we’re monitoring the market and it was clear that more was required.”
Vale Inco was created in 2006 after Vale bought Inco Ltd.
Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement told Parliament the government is reviewing an agreement with the company not to cut jobs until October 2009.
“We’re reviewing the Investment Canada Act provisions and how they pertain to Vale Inco,” Clement said.
“We expect Vale Inco to measure up, to honor their commitments that they’ve made to the government of Canada to the people of Canada and we’ll be examining the situation closely.”
Before the cuts, Vale Inco employed approximately 6,600 people in Canada.
Tuesday’s cuts reflect tough times in the Canadian mining industry, as companies cut jobs and shut down mines in reaction to falling prices and slumping demand for nickel, copper, zinc, aluminum and other base metals.
Nickel has been hit particularly hard. The price of the metal was hovering around $4.30 per pound Tuesday. Nickel prices soared above $20 a pound in early 2007 before plunging along with the stock markets and the economic outlook in late 2008.