(Adds comment from union, company, background on talks)
By Susan Taylor
TORONTO May 5 Unionized workers at
ArcelorMittal's Mont-Wright iron ore mine in northern
Quebec gave the steelmaker, the world's largest, a 72-hour
strike notice after rejecting the company's contract offer, the
United Steelworkers union said on Friday.
The two sides have since agreed to resume negotiations in
Montreal, but some 2,000 workers will walk off the job at noon
Monday if outstanding issues are not resolved, said Dominic
Lemieux, assistant to the union's Quebec director.
The union has concerns with wages, pensions, sub-contracting
and lower pay for workers at the company's nearby smaller mine,
A strike would affect the large open pit Mont-Wright mine, a
railroad link to port, a processing plant in Port Cartier and
the smaller Fire Lake mine.
The company would not comment on contingency plans for
operating the plant during a strike. Last year, Mont-Wright
produced some 27 million tonnes of iron ore at a cash production
cost of $25 per tonne.
ArcelorMittal spokesman Paul Wilson said the company is
confident a deal will be reached. "We are still convinced that
we are going to get there and that we're going to get a win-win
solution," he said.
A week of mediated talks in late April failed to resolve
financial issues in the contract, which expired March 1, Lemieux
Spot iron ore prices .IO62-CNO=MB slid 5.1 percent to
$65.20 a tonne on Thursday, according to Metal Bulletin, on
worries about slowing construction and infrastructure demand.
That is down from an all-time high of about $190 in 2011.
Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal suspended an expansion plan
at Mont-Wright last June, citing project costs, "fairly high"
mine production costs, low iron ore prices and global
In 2013, ArcelorMittal sold a 15 percent stake in
Mont-Wright to South Korean steelmaker Posco and
Taiwan listed China Steel Corp for $1.1 billion.
(Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Bernard