ONTARIO – On Feb. 18, Vale, the Brazilian owner of what used to be Inco, announced the closing on its No.2 flash furnace at the Copper Cliff smelter near Sudbury for at least 16 weeks. Earlier in the month there was a spill of molten metal between the tapping block and the furnace. The leak caused cooling water lines to break and a reaction occurred in the furnace.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour is investigating the incident as are the company and the United Steelworkers.
Vale estimates that the furnace stoppage will cut 15,000 tonnes of finished nickel, or 5% of total production, planned for 2011.
The Vale website is at www.Vale.com.