Vale Limited

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Vale Canada Limited
Wholly owned subsidiary
HeadquartersToronto, Ontario, Canada
Gorontalo, Gorontalo, Indonesia
ProductsNickel, Copper, Cobalt, PGMs
RevenueIncrease US$ 8.3 billion (2012)
Increase US$ 3.8 Billion (2012)
Number of employees
SubsidiariesVale Indonesia

Vale Canada Limited (formerly Vale Inco, CVRD Inco and Inco Limited; for corporate branding purposes simply known as "Vale" and pronounced /ˈvɑːl/ in English)[1] is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Brazilian mining company Vale. Vale's nickel mining and metals division is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It produces nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, gold, and silver. Prior to being purchased by CVRD (now Vale) in 2006, Inco was the world's second largest producer of nickel, and the third largest mining company outside South Africa and Russia of platinum group metals. It was also a charter member of the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average formed on October 1, 1928.

Pre-Vale history[edit]

Share of the International Nickel Company, issued 7 June 1916
The logo of Inco Limited and CVRD Inco, prior to CVRD's rebranding as Vale on November 29, 2007

The company was founded following the discovery of copper deposits in Sudbury, Ontario. Initially, ore was shipped for smelting to a plant in Constable Hook, New Jersey, owned by the Orford Copper Company. Processing revealed in 1884 that the ore was also rich in nickel and exploration tests revealed an enormous potential.

Nickel mining started in Sudbury, Ontario in 1902,[2]   and that year, the International Nickel Company, Ltd. was created in New York, NY as a joint venture between Canadian Copper, Orford Copper, and American Nickel Works. In 1916, the International Nickel Company of Canada, Ltd. was incorporated in Copper Cliff in Sudbury; this entity was a subsidiary of the International Nickel Company in the U.S. The company built a new refinery in Port Colborne in 1918 and during the following year, the company first began using the trade name Inco.

In 1928, the corporation merged with the British-owned Mond Nickel Company; subsequently, Falconbridge Ltd. was founded. A head office for Inco was established in Toronto. During World War II, Inco's Frood Mine produced 40% of the nickel used in artillery by the Allies. After the war, demand for nickel remained high because of the Korean War and the Cold War of the 1950s.[3]

Inco also built and operated a facility that included a research center overlooking Blue Lake in New York's Sterling Forest area.[4] The site was sold in the 1980s. In 1972 the Inco Superstack was built in Sudbury. In 1976, the company’s name was officially changed to Inco Limited.

In order to generate cash Inco sold its manufacturing sites of nickel alloys to Special Metals Corporation in 1998. Special Metals Corporation however filed Chapter 11 in March 2002.

Takeovers (2005–2006)[edit]

On October 11, 2005, Inco announced a friendly takeover bid to buy out the operations of longtime rival Falconbridge for $12 billion. If approved, the deal would have made Inco the world's largest producer of nickel. Xstrata (which already owned ~20% of Falconbridge shares) subsequently submitted a hostile takeover bid for Falconbridge, resulting in a bidding war between Inco and Xstrata. The Xstrata bid was successful, but not before Falconbridge employed a poison pill to delay the acquisition, raising its share price from $28 to $62.50 in the meantime.

Teck Cominco submitted a hostile takeover bid to purchase Inco on May 8, 2006 for $16 billion if it agreed to abandon its takeover of Falconbridge. On June 26 of the same year, Phelps Dodge submitted a friendly takeover bid to purchase a combined Inco and Falconbridge for around $40 billion; that offer was also withdrawn because of the failure of the Inco-Falconbridge merger.

Transitional "Vale Inco" logo

On August 14, 2006 Brazilian mining company CVRD extended an all-cash offer to buy Inco for $17 billion. That offer received approval from the Canadian government's investment review agency on October 19, and was accepted by Inco shareholders on October 23. Part of the takeover deal was that CVRD would operate Inco as a separate nickel mining division; all of CVRD's nickel operations, including mines at Onca Puma and Vermelho in Brazil, were transferred to Inco's management. Inco was delisted from the NYSE on November 16, 2006 and the TSX on January 5, 2007. According to its current web site, Inco is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Vale (formerly CVRD). Vale has since changed the name of Vale-Inco to simply Vale, stating the change is "a milestone that aligns it more fully with other Vale operations worldwide and reflects its position as part of the world’s second largest mining company"[5]

Vale is exploring as of 2015 an IPO of its base metals unit for $30–35 billion, in order to lighten its debt load.[6]


In 2006 Inco was removed from the FTSE4Good Index for failing to meet their human rights criteria.[7] The company has had disputes with native groups and environmental concerns over mine runoff.

Labour relations[edit]

Employees for Inco in Canada are represented by the United Steelworkers throughout all the mergers. Because of the mergers, the United Steelworkers signed an agreement with all the unions that represent mining workers in countries where Vale/Inco operate to "work together cooperatively and strategically as global partners, to build the bargaining power of worker."[8] The unions include Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores no Setor Minera, SINTICIM, Union syndicale des ouvriers et employés de Nouvelle-Calédonie, Union des Syndicats des Travailleurs Kanak et Exploités, Fagforbundet for Industri og Energi, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, and the United Steelworkers.

Current operations[edit]

The INCO Superstack at the Vale Copper Cliff smelter in Sudbury.

Ontario, Canada[edit]

Manitoba, Canada[edit]

Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada[edit]


  • Vale Inco's Indonesian joint venture PT Inco, an Indonesian company which is 20 percent publicly owned (IDX:INCO), is located in Soroako. In August 2011, a dispute began because PT Inco broke its promise to build 2 smelters in Pomala and Bahodopi in 2005 and 2010 respectively, and to hand over 50,000 hectares of its 118,000-hectare concession to locals. Based on the latest feasibility study, only the Bahodopi smelter facility was possible. The dispute might go to court.[9]
  • October 11, 2011: After starting operation of its third hydropower plant at Karebbe with an output of 130 megawatts (MW), the company would increase production from 73,000 metric tons to 120,000 metric tons per year over the next five years. The first and second hydropower plants are located in Larona and Balambano with a combined output of 365 MW. As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility plan, the company has given a total of 8 MW from the plants to Perusahaan Listrik Negara (Indonesian Government Electric Company) for free.[10]

New Caledonia[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

Inco is a central theme in the Stompin' Tom Connors song "Sudbury Saturday Night". More recently, the Creighton Mine, owned by Vale and hosting the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, figures largely in the plot of Robert J. Sawyer's Neanderthal Parallax trilogy.


  1. ^ "Welcome to Vale Inco". Archived from the original on November 30, 2007. Retrieved November 29, 2007.
  2. ^ "Sudbury's Big Nickel". CBC News. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  3. ^ "The mining history of the Sudbury area". University of Wateroo. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  4. ^ Tims, Agis Salpukas Special to The New York (July 5, 1979). "Inco Diversifying via Research". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 30, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Vale Said to Hire Canada's Stikeman Elliott for Base Metals IPO". Bloomberg. June 17, 2015.
  7. ^ "Semi-Annual Review of the FTSE4GOOD Indices" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2007. Retrieved November 29, 2007.
  8. ^ United Steelworkers. Steelworkers and Global Union Partners Announce Unity Accord. March 20, 2007. Available at
  9. ^ "Inco denies contract and environmental violations". August 22, 2011.
  10. ^ "Inco expands operations for sustainability". October 14, 2011.