Skip to content

'No recent discussions' on Sudbury mining merger, says Vale operations boss

Gord Gilpin says companies discussing 'strategic alternatives' are part of 'normal course of business'
Gord Gilpin, Vale’s head of Ontario base metal operations, addresses attendees during the opening of the South Mine expansion in Sudbury in October 2022.

Vale’s head of Ontario base metal operations, Gord Gilpin, is tamping down media speculation of a potential merger with Glencore, its crosstown mining neighbour in Sudbury.

Gilpin issued a Jan. 12 notice to its employees — Clarification of Synergy with Glencore — that it’s business as usual and no talks are underway.

“Various media outlets,” Gilpin wrote, “have published stories that have created speculation about a possible merger between the Glencore and Vale Base Metals Sudbury Operations.

“To be clear, there have been no recent discussions about a merger between our Sudbury Operations.”

Gilpin was responding to comments made by Vale Base Metals’ chair Mark Cutifani in an interview with Reuters last week, and a follow-up analysis by mining columnist Stan Sudol that a possible business combination with Glencore in the Sudbury basin was one of Cutifani's priorities for 2024.

Work continues, Gilpin said, on its Nickel Rim/Victor Project, a joint study to collaboratively mine an ore body on the east end of the Sudbury basin. The two companies have also worked together in the past, and shared information, on various mining and exploration projects.

“In the normal course of business, companies regularly evaluate strategic alternatives and partnerships to create shareholder value.

“We would like to emphasize our commitment to transparency, assuring that any conclusive decisions made in this regard will be communicated to our employees in accordance with our established practice.”

Confidential talks between Sudbury’s two largest mining companies have taken place behind the scenes for decades, particularly in the mid-2000s when the former INCO was acquired by Vale of Brazil and Glencore acquired the former Falconbridge.

Mining analysts have often speculated about the efficiencies in operations and future growth potential that would be achieved if the mineral riches of the Sudbury basin were mined and processed under one operating entity. But there’s also been local fears of widespread layoffs should some production facilities, processing and support jobs be declared redundant.