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Fatality halts output at Vale's Sudbury smelter

Apr 07, 2014 | 02:16 PM |

Tags  Vale, nickel, Copper Cliff, smelter, fatality, worker death, Kelly Strong, Sudbury United Steelworkers Local 5600

NEW YORK — Vale SA has idled its Copper Cliff smelter in Sudbury, Ontario, following a fatal accident April 6.

"We have brought the smelter to a safe state and it is not currently operating," a company spokeswoman told AMM in an e-mail, adding that it was unclear how long the smelter would be out of operation.

A 36-year-old employee "was found unconscious and without vital signs, and was subsequently pronounced dead on the scene by medical personnel" at the smelter, the company said in a statement April 7. Another employee also working in the casting/crushing plant was hospitalized with injuries.

The dead worker had suffered head trauma while the injured worker had lacerations to the face, but the cause of the incident is still unknown, a company spokesman told AMM in an e-mail.

The incident is being investigated by Greater Sudbury Police Services, the Ministry of Labour and representatives of Vale and United Steelworkers union Local 6500.

"We are saddened beyond words by the loss of this employee," said Kelly Strong, Vale vice president of Ontario and U.K. operations.

Rio de Janeiro-based Vale produced 260,000 tonnes of nickel last year, according to a financial statement.

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