The strike by more than 2300 workers at the plant over contract terms, which began in July 2009, is affecting nickel powder supply as the Sudbury refinery is the primary location of Vale Inco’s nickel powder production in North America. Prices have risen to around $10 a pound.

“The MPIF has recently communicated to key executives at Vale Inco on behalf of the PM industry the importance of the Sudbury facilities’ operations to our industry’s supply chain, and has urged resolution of this deteriorating situation,” he said. “The matter has been exacerbated by the recent upturn in our industry’s production levels, which has created an increase in demand for nickel powder.”
 
But earlier this month nearly 90 per cent of those on strike, represented by the Local 6500 branch of the United Steelworkers, voted to reject the terms of an offer from Vale Inco.