* Union says contacting company to resume talks
* Strike began Aug. 1, mine currently shut down
TORONTO, Jan 19 (Reuters) - The union representing striking workers at Vale’s VALE5.SA Voisey’s Bay nickel mine in Eastern Canada said on Tuesday it had received a new proposal from the company and would try to return to the bargaining table.
Negotiations have been frozen since 135 workers went on strike at the beginning of August last year. Attempts to restart talks in late December and early January failed, prompting company officials to say they were considering restarting the operation with non-unionized workers.
In a statement, the United Steelworkers, which represents the workers at the mine, said that the company’s new proposal provided a “starting point” for talks, and said the union would contact the company to set up dates to resume negotiations.
The mine, currently not in production and staffed at a bare-bones level, is located in Canada’s easternmost province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It produced 77,500 tonnes of contained nickel and 55,400 tonnes of contained copper in 2008.
The USW also represents striking workers at Vale’s larger Sudbury, Ontario, operations. Workers there went on strike in mid-July.
Vale did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Rob Wilson)