Ufaleynickel Suspends Production

YEKATERINBURG -- Ufaleinyckel, the country's third-largest nickel producer, said Monday that it had stopped production of the metal because of a fall in world prices and planned to sack some 400 employees.

Pavel Kovalenko, the spokesman for the plant's owner, the Industrial and Metallurgical Holding, said the plant had already sent some 300 employees on partially paid holiday and intended to do the same with another 1,000 this week.

"We have started negotiations with the plant's trade union and employees on laying off some 400 staff," Kovalenko said.

"The cost of the plant's production is significantly higher than the price of the metal on the world markets. It costs us $26,000 to produce a ton of nickel, and its current exchange price is around $8,000."

Nickel fell by 6.5 percent in London on Monday to $9.350 per ton.