LUSAKA, July 28 (Reuters) - Zambia's largest mine workers' union said on Wednesday it aimed to block Brazilian firm Vale's (VALE5.SA) planned development of a $400 million copper mine because of concerns about its bad labour relations record.
Mine Workers' Union of Zambia (MUZ) President Rayford Mbulu said Vale, which plans to develop the Konkola North copper project, had been involved in a standoff with steel workers in Canada for almost a year and should not be allowed in Zambia.
Mbulu said the 20 million-member International Chemical, Energy, Mining and General Workers' Union (ICEM) resolved to oppose Vale's investments worldwide until the company proved that it would respect workers' rights.
"We don't want Vale and will campaign against it because of the manner in which it has abused the steel workers union in Canada. Vale is very stubborn," Mbulu said.
Vale and the union representing striking workers at its Voisey's Bay nickel mine in eastern Canada last week broke off talks aimed at ending the year-long stoppage, the United Steelworkers said.
Vale Executive Director Eduardo Ledsham said earlier this month the company planned to start producing copper at Konkola North in 2013 in a joint venture with South Africa's African Rainbow Minerals (ARIJ.J).
Copper mining is Zambia's economic mainstay, and the mines are a major employer in this southern African country of 12 million people.
Foreign mining companies in Zambia include Canada's First Quantum Minerals (FM.TO), London-listed Vedanta Resources (VED.L), Glencore International of Switzerland [GLEN.UL] and Metorex (MTXJ.J) of South Africa.