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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Norilsk's Stillwater Faces Labor Strike

BILLINGS, Montana -- About 900 employees of Stillwater Mining, in which Norilsk Nickel holds a controlling stake, went on strike Wednesday morning after two months of negotiations failed to produce a new labor contract.

The company claims to be the largest producer of platinum metals outside South Africa and Russia. In 2003, Norilsk acquired the stake in Stillwater for $248 million in cash and palladium.

The strike will hobble the firm's platinum and palladium mine and smelter and refinery complex in Montana. Work will continue at another mine, also in Montana, where the labor contract has another year to run, spokesman John Beaudry said.

"We have almost 200 salaried people at the mine site and those people would continue to work, and same with the smelter and refinery," Beaudry said. "The remaining 40 people there would continue to work."

Talks between the sides were scheduled to resume Thursday.