Wildcat strike hits Vale Canada nickel project

Reuters reports a "wildcat strike by construction workers at Vale SA's Long Harbour nickel processing plant in Eastern Canada dragged into its fifth day on Monday, with hundreds of union members refusing to enter the job site in protest over wages":

The Brazilian mining giant is building the Long Harbour plant to process nickel from its Voisey's Bay project in Labrador. The facility is expected to start operations in 2013.

The strike started last Thursday, when some 100 crane operators blocked the entrance to the construction site.

The operators were upset over pay, which they say is lower than in other parts of Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said. Workers at Long Harbour are represented by a number of unions and all have collective agreements in place.

Vale won a court injunction last week to prevent workers from blocking the road to the project. It was not clear on Monday if the strike would cause project delays.

Last month Vale broke ground on its $2 billion "Clean AER Project", one of the largest single environmental investments in Ontario's history.

The Clean AER Project, where AER stands for 'Atmospheric Emissions Reduction', will see sulphur dioxide emissions at Vale's smelter in Sudbury reduced by 70% from current levels, as well as dust and metals emissions reduced a further 35 to 40%. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015.