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First Nickel to cut about 110 jobs at Sudbury mine

13th January 2015

By: Henry Lazenby

Creamer Media Deputy Editor: North America

  

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TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Ontario-focused miner First Nickel (FNI) plans to cut about 110 jobs at its flagship Lockerby nickel/copper mine, in the Sudbury basin, as part of a restructuring exercise aimed at reducing costs, increasing exploration and extending the mine life.

The TSX-listed miner said on Monday that it would seek to capture productivity improvements through a strong focus on basics and essential work, while maintaining relatively consistent nickel output.

The restructuring plan, developed by senior management and recently appointed VP for Sudbury operations Vern Baker, called for a 30% cut in FNI personnel and a 75% reduction in third-party contractor personnel, for an overall workforce reduction of 45%. Costs at the Toronto corporate office were also being reduced as part of the plan.

As a result of potentially reduced costs, FNI would restart the ramp development below the 6 800 level to reach the 7 100 level in the first half of 2016.

The underlying mine plan was essentially unchanged from the 2012 technical report and the company expected to file a new technical report on the Lockerby mine during the first half of this year.

The restructuring plan also included restarting exploration diamond drilling at Lockerby, with a planned 6 300 m of underground exploration drilling in 2015 and 7 200 m in 2016, targeting increased resources/reserves and mine life.

“Our primary objective over the past month has been to determine how we could safely and economically continue to operate the Lockerby mine into the future. We are implementing a plan that will see production continue through 2016, preserve 115 FNI jobs, restart and expand our exploration drilling programme and potentially add to mine life,” president and CEO Thomas Boehlert said.

Further, FNI was continuing discussions with its principal shareholders regarding a possible refinancing or extension of the shareholder debt instruments and credit facilities before their maturities in March.

Edited by Tracy Hancock
Creamer Media Contributing Editor

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