Thursday, April 9, 2009

1,800 workers face summer closure of Rio Tinto Quebec subsidiary

Rio Tinto subsidiary QIT-Fet et Titane said Monday that 1,800 workers in Quebec will be affected as the company suspends mining and metals operations for much of the summer.

The company said operations at its Sorel-Tracy metallurgical complex will cease from July 12 until Sept. 9. Operations at its Havre-Saint-Pierre mine will be put on hold from July until Aug. 31.

The company mines an ore deposit at Havre-Saint-Pierre, and extracts titanium dioxide, pig iron and steel from the ore at its Sorel-Tracy complex. Metal powders are also produced at Sorel-Tracy.

The company is the latest base mine firm to be hit by the weak economic situation.

"Our objective is to ensure the future of our business and to continue contributing to the financial health of the regions in which we operate," said Jean-Fran├žois Turgeon, the president, QIT-Fer et Titane.

"The collaboration and understanding of our union representatives and business partners is helping us through this difficult situation."

The company also said that previously planned interruption periods for the end of 2009 will also take effect on Dec. 11, one week sooner than anticipated.

QIT-Fer et Titane employs approximately 2,000 people at its Havre-Saint-Pierre and Sorel-Tracy operations.