Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale.
The lengthy strike at Voisey’s Bay took some of the sheen off the province’s mining industry this year, according to the minister of Natural Resources.
“The mining news, however, has not been entirely good,” Kathy Dunderdale told the Mineral Resources Review 2010 conference Thursday.
“It would be inappropriate for me to go any further without mentioning the ongoing Voisey’s Bay strike, which is now in its 16th month.”
The minister made the comments after she spent more than 10 minutes rhyming off positive developments in an industry that will ship $3.2 billion worth of minerals this year, and by all accounts, is rebounding well from the global recession.
After the United Steelworkers and Vale — which owns the Voisey’s Bay nickel mine — failed to reach an agreement by an Oct. 22 deadline, the province followed through on its commitment and called an industrial inquiry.
Dunderdale said that was an “extraordinary measure” for government to take.
“(It’s) a measure that we believe demonstrates both the seriousness of this matter and our concern for the length of the strike,” she said.
“The mining news, however, has not been entirely good. It would be inappropriate for me to go any further without mentioning the ongoing Voisey’s Bay strike, which is now in its 16th month.” Kathy Dunderdale
“It is imperative that this strike get resolved so that operations and the lives of the employees and their families can get back to normal.”
It was noted in an address following the minister’s that the Voisey’s Strike also had some impact on the overall worth of minerals sector, which is being driven by iron ore.
Richard Wardle, assistant deputy minister in Dunderdale’s department, said the dollar value of the nickel shipped from the province was “less than it could have been because of the long strike at Voisey’s Bay, which has really reduced nickel production by about half of its total value in 2009 and 2010.”
On Oct. 28, the inquiry gave Vale and the union a week to produce documentation about their bargaining efforts during the strike.