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Wabush Scully Mine in Labrador closing, 500 jobs affected at iron ore operation

WABUSH, N.L. - The Wabush Scully Mine in Labrador will be idled by the end of March by Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. with the company blaming dropping prices and the increased cost of running the operation for its decision.

Stopping production will affect 500 workers at the iron ore mine near Wabush and at the company's Pointe Noire rail and port operation in Quebec.

Company president Gary Halverson said Tuesday it has seen prices drop over the past three years while the cost of running the mine in western Labrador has escalated.

Halverson said the company has made "significant" capital investments in the mine.

"This is a regrettable but necessary decision," he said in a news release. "We simply cannot continue operating a high-cost mine while pricing and freight markets are so volatile."

The company's website says the Scully mine and concentrator have been in operation since 1965.

Premier Tom Marshall of Newfoundland and Labrador said he is disappointed by the company's decision and will travel to Wabush this week to discuss the mine's closing.

The town of Wabush's website says the open-pit operation is the third largest iron ore mine in Canada. A company fact sheet dated January 2013 says the Scully mine employed 487 workers.

The company says it expects to spend about $100 million this year to idle the mine before the end of the first quarter.

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