LONDON, Jun. 30 -- Talks between Brazilian miner Vale SA (VALE, VALE5.BR) and the United Steelworkers union to end an 11-month-old strike at Vale's nickel operations in Ontario have been terminated, as the two sides were deadlocked, the government-appointed mediator said Tuesday.
The two sides reached an impasse over the legal avenues available to eight of nine employees that were let go during the strike, mediator Kevin Burkett said in a statement received by Dow Jones Newswires.
"I regret to announce that after extensive mediation between Vale and United Steelworkers the parties are deadlocked," Burkett said. "I have concluded that additional mediation efforts would not resolve this issue."
The latest round of talks had stretched into their second week and were the longest set of talks between the two sides. Previous efforts to sign a new collective labor agreement have repeatedly failed.
Management and United Steelworkers Local 6,500 members at Vale have fought over changes Vale wants to make to bonuses and pensions. The mining company has argued the changes are needed to make the operations more profitable.
Vale's Ontario nickel operations produced 43,000 metric tons in 2009, 49% less than in 2008 during a strike-free year. Voisey's Bay produced 40,000 tons, down 43% on the year.