RIO DE JANEIRO, May 06, 2010 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- Brazilian mining giant Vale SA (VALE, VALE5.BR) expects to boost nickel production in the second quarter as the company ramps up output at its strike-riddled Vale Inco unit, director of non-ferrous mining Tito Martins said Thursday.
Vale has restarted some production at Sudbury, Martins said during a conference call with analysts. The executive, however, declined to comment about the ongoing strike at Vale Inco.
The world's second-largest nickel miner posted disappointing production figures for the first quarter late Wednesday. Nickel output was down by nearly half to 33,000 metric tons, although higher nickel prices partially offset the decline.
Vale received an average nickel price of $20,147 per metric ton in the first quarter, up from $17,951 in the fourth quarter of 2009.
About 3,100 workers at Vale Inco's operations in Canada have been on strike since July and August 2009. Union members voted down an offer to settle the strike in March.
Voisey Bay is operating on two week intervals, with production restarted at the Ovoid mine and nickel concentrate processing plant, Vale said in its earnings release. At Sudbury, the company is operating the Coleman and Garson mines, the Clarabelle processing plant and the Copper Cliff smelter.