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Stillwater Mining Company officials and the leaders of the union representing miners at the idled East Boulder mine reached a tentative agreement this afternoon on changes that could send hundreds of miners back to work.

The changes to the union's current collective bargaining agreement were forced by the mining company's restructuring plan.

Members of United Steel Workers Union Local 11-0001 will vote on the tentative agreement Wednesday.

If the agreement is ratified, as many as 204 hourly employees will be called back to work at the East Boulder mine. In addition, as many as 41 miners will be offered employment at the Stillwater Mine near Nye, the company said in a statement this afternoon.

The platinum and palladium mining company announced last Monday it was idling its East Boulder operation and gave 526 employees layoff notices.

The company is permanently cutting its total work force by about 320 workers and 50 contractors. That's 21 percent of its 1,770-person work force.

"We need to cut our production costs by 25 percent," Stillwater's Chief Executive and Chairman, Frank McAllister said last week. The company blamed the layoffs on a recent freefall in the market prices of platinum and palladium, which are used primarily in the automotive industry.


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