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Ottawa settles court case against U.S. Steel

The federal government and U.S. Steel Corp (X-N) have settled a court case that started when Ottawa sought to fine the firm in 2009 for breaking job-protection promises made when it bought Canadian steelmaker Stelco, Industry Minister Christian Paradis said on Monday.

Under the terms of the settlement, U.S. Steel will operate both the Lake Erie and Hamilton plants until 2015. It has also agreed to spend a total of $250 million in capital investment, $50 million more than initially envisaged.

Last month, the country's top court confirmed the government had the right to fine U.S. Steel $10,000 a day. Ottawa said the steelmaker's decision to shut down two former Stelco plants violated promises it made about maintaining employment levels.

"The government and U.S. Steel have come to an agreement that ends the court proceedings," Paradis told the House of Commons.

U.S. Steel bought Stelco in 2007 for $1.1 billion, and the decision to idle the facilities affected about 1,500 jobs. The company challenged Ottawa's right to sue it, blaming weak demand for the shutdowns.

"When it comes to foreign investment, when a company makes an undertaking we will ensure it is respected," said Paradis.

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