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Workers at Vale Canada Ltd.’s nickel mine in Sudbury are going on strike for the first time in more than 10 years after a majority of its members rejected a tentative deal with the Brazilian company.

United Steelworkers Local 6500, which represents 2,600 members in the Sudbury area, says 87 per cent of its members voted on the deal, 70 per cent of whom voted to reject the agreement.

The news comes after the union’s bargaining committee unanimously recommended members vote for the tentative deal.

Local 6500′s bargaining committee says it’s “newly energized” with the results of the vote and its work isn’t finished.

Vale said in a securities filing on Tuesday it will suspend Sudbury operations. The company says it will be continuing discussions with Local 6500 to hopefully approve an agreement in the near future, but has not confirmed when labour talks will resume.

Sudbury produced 43,200 tonnes of nickel last year, representing a bit less than half of Vale’s overall Canadian output of the base metal.

- with a file from Reuters

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