The hollowing out of Canadian mining
Ten years ago this Saturday, a global mining gem slipped out of Canadian fingers.
On Sept. 24, 2006, Canadian nickel miner Inco agreed to be bought by Brazil’s Vale in a $19-billion takeover. The announcement of the acquisition came just weeks after fellow nickel giant Falconbridge was acquired by Xstrata of Switzerland (now part of Glencore) in an $18-billion deal. The previous year, Falconbridge had combined with another Canadian mineral giant, Noranda.
The Inco sale “further undermines Canada’s status as a force in the mining industry,” the New York Times proclaimed at the time of the acquisition.
The two takeovers rankled because both Inco and Falconbridge sat atop a mineral lode in in Sudbury, Ont., which is among one of the greatest deposits on Earth. Vale itself calls the northern Ontario city “the mining capital of the world,” adding that its operations there “are among our largest on the planet, employing approximately 4,000 people.”
The foreign takeovers of Vale and Falconbridge dismayed business leaders and mining industry observers because the two companies had contemplated their own merger, which would have created a Canadian colossus.