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Canada will loss smelting jobs

OTTAWA — A New Democrat MP says the Conservative government should be holding foreign companies to their promises of economic benefits in return for allowing takeovers.

Instead, it's letting Swiss-owned Xstrata shutter Ontario's only copper smelter, without a complaint.

Charlie Angus says the Tories approved the takeover of Canadian-owned Falconbridge and Inco by foreign corporations Xstrata and Vale, after the newcomers promised economic benefits from the deal.

Angus says they haven't delivered.

He says Kidd is one of the world's most environmentally efficient plants and the planned closure marks a government failure to protect Canadian resources and jobs.

He says Industry Minister Tony Clement should reveal the details of the original takeover agreement.

"Minister Clement welcomed in these foreign mining giants," Angus said. "They are deep-sixing any value-added jobs and shipping our raw resources to other jurisdictions.

"This shutdown will drastically undermine Ontario's copper refining capabilities and the minister must investigate it."

The company announced last fall it would close the smelter because of world overcapacity, lower demand and higher costs.

About 670 jobs will be lost when the plant closes May 1.

The Canadian Auto Workers have demanded an investigation of the closure.

However, Clement said in December that Xstrata was within it rights to close the Kidd facility and the move didn't violate any takeover agreements.

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