Low metals prices force Canadian First Nickel to idle Ontario mine

Low metals prices force Canadian First Nickel to shut mine Ontario mine

Lockerby mine.

Canadian miner First Nickel (TSX:FNI) announced Monday it is idling its Lockerby nickel and copper mine near Sudbury, Ont., after current supplies of ore are used up, which it is expected to happen in the fall this year.

The Toronto-based company said that while it was planning further development at the mine weak nickel prices and low production levels at Lockerby made them re-think the decision.

First Nickel says the Lockerby mine will either be put on "care and maintenance" for a possible restart or closed.

The miner, which acquired Lockerby in 2005, had halted operations in 2008 also due low commodity prices, but it restarted it in September 2011.

The announcement didn't say what impact its decision will have on its workforce. According to regulatory documents, the firm had 165 employees plus contractors at the end of last year and reduced that by 30% in January.

The Lockerby property formerly belonged to Falconbridge, a Canadian mining giant that is now part of commodities traders and mining giant Glencore (LON:GLEN).