Inco copper refinery may be shut

The Globe and Mail

SUDBURY, ONT. — The closing of Inco Ltd.’s Copper Cliff copper refinery is ‘very likely,’ a top company official said Friday.

Mark Cutifani, president of Ontario operations, said a 12-month process to dramatically reduce costs at the refinery was successful on some levels, but fell well short of company targets.

A 20-per-cent cost reduction was achieved, he said, but it would have taken double that to make copper refining competitive for Inco.

Mr. Cutifani spoke to workers Thursday, letting them know that the company was strongly leaning toward closing the refinery.

Copper refining, he said, is a small part of Inco’s operations, representing just 3 per cent of the business.

Copper will continue to be processed to the anode stage, but the refining process will most likely be eliminated.

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