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Siderit mine lays off a third of workers

DEBTS in the eastern Slovak mining company Siderit, part of the troubled Želba firm, have caused the suspension of utilities and forced the mine to sack 260 out of 970 employees.

The main reason behind the collapse was a decision by US Steel Košice not to purchase ore pellets from Siderit this year, said company officials.

In spite of what they call lower quality pellets and higher prices at Siderit, US Steel had recently agreed to resume business, answering the mine's appeals for help.

"We told Siderit to propose quantities and prices for which they would sell their products to us for this year and next year, and we promised to accept their offer if they sustain their current employment level and agree with independent audit control of their company," said US Steel Košice president John Goodish.

However, US Steel says the company has not met expectations. "Siderit plans to employ only 600 people. Moreover, they wanted payment in advance and they planned to carry out the business using another company, which is a thing they have never done before. We could not agree with such non-transparency," said Goodish.

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