Vale, Glencore break off Canada nickel talks

Talks between Brazil's Vale, the world's number one iron ore miner and third-largest refined nickel producer, and Swiss-based Glencore over combining their Canadian operations have ended.

Vale and Glencore, the world's fourth largest miner, initiated talks on jointly operating mines, mills and smelters in Ontario's Sudbury Basin in Canada, last year.

Reuters reports Tuesday discussions over linking the companies' neighbouring Sudbury nickel mines and plants broke down "partly due to disagreement over how to share the costs and savings and to worries about government and labour union reaction to potential job cuts and shutdowns."

A surge in nickel prices have also made operational rationalization and cost cutting at the Sudbury complex less urgent.

Following an Indonesian ban on unprocessed ore exports that kicked in at the beginning of the year, nickel prices have shot up to $8.50 a pound ($18,800 a tonne) today from 4-year lows around $6 a pound hit late last year.

Earlier this year Vale opened the doors to a new mine in the Sudbury area, the first new operation there in more than four decades.

The Totten mine – which Vale calls 'Canada's mine of the future' – is expected to enter full production of copper, nickel and some precious metals in 2016.