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Glencore Xstrata to close nickel mine in the Dominican Republic

The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in the Swiss town of Baar November 20, 2012. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

By Manuel Jimenez

SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) - The global mining and commodities trading giant Glencore Xstrata is suspending operations at its Falcondo nickel mine in the Dominican Republic due to falling nickel prices.

Wednesday's announcement came a day after legislators created a national park on the outskirts of the mine, although the company said its decision was not related to environmental pressures.

A spokesman for the Switzerland-based company said the mine will be shuttered temporarily for up to three years resulting in the loss of up to 1,000 jobs.

The ferronickel mine in Loma Miranda about 60 milesnorth of the capital Santo Domingo has been the focus of environmental protests.

The company's plans to expand the mine received a setback earlier this year when the United Nations Development Program rejected an environmental impact study as "incomplete."

(Writing by David Adams; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)