TIMMINS, Ont. FALCONBRIDGE is planning an eight-week shutdown of its zinc refinery at the Kidd Metallurgical Division. The dates and other details will be communicated in April. The two-week annual maintenance shutdown will be scheduled during this closure. The zinc operation has 297 employees.
The shutdown is due to concentrate shortages, high operating costs, low metal prices, and low revenue from treatment charges. Custom concentrate comes mainly from sources in Quebec and occasionally from offshore, primarily South America. One effect of the refinery shutdown is that zinc concentrate can be stockpiled to sustain production next year.
"We will of course continue to evaluate other options to mitigate the effect of this summer's shutdown. However, we have limited flexibility in the short term given the market conditions, the company's ability to reduce operating costs, as well as the performance of our own Kidd mine," Falconbridge president Daniel Picard said. He did not rule out a similar closure in 2004.
The Falconbridge web site is at www.falconbridge.com.