November 13, 2019 / 3:16 PM / 22 days ago

UPDATE 1-Glencore's Canadian unit to close "uneconomic" Brunswick Lead Smelter

(Adds background, union's picketing announcement)

Nov 13 (Reuters) - British diversified miner Glencore Plc's Canadian unit said on Wednesday it would permanently close down the Brunswick Lead Smelter in New Brunswick that employs about 420 people.

The unit said the smelter, which started in 1966, had been 'uneconomic' since the Brunswick mine closed six years ago.

"We have thoroughly assessed all our options and come to the unavoidable conclusion that the smelter is simply not sustainable, regardless of the recent labour dispute," said Chris Eskdale, Canadian unit's head of zinc and lead assets.

Earlier on Wednesday, the United Steelworkers (USW) union claimed that over half of the smelter's employees, fighting to improve health and safety standards, were locked out since April 24. (bit.ly/33LQYML)

The union said New Brunswick workers will be picketing at three Glencore operations in Montreal on Wednesday.

Glencore Canada said it intends to provide pension, severance and outplacement support services to all employees as part of closure settlements to be agreed on.

It also intends to seek potential relocation opportunities for the smelter workers at its other mining and metallurgical operations, and retain a few to work on site monitoring, water treatment and closure projects in the months ahead. (Reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shinjini Ganguli)

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