Former Myra Falls mine workers in demand at Campbell River job fair

CHEK

There’s some good news for the workers suddenly laid off in December from the Myra Falls mine on central Vancouver Island.

Those laid off workers appear to be in high demand.

As laid off worker’s from the Myra Falls mine arrive at a job fair in Campbell River Friday, there is optimism new work may be on the horizon.

“Just looking for an opportunity. Kind of excited by the new opportunity, I’ve applied at a bunch of places,” said Ian Breland as he arrived at the job fair. Breland formerly worked for a Myra Falls contractor.

“Here’s hoping, but there’s also lots of other people in the running, but something will happen,” said Kelli Gilroy, a former Myra Falls Mine worker who lives in Qualicum Beach.

Ascot Resources was in town this week looking to hire 50 of the 225 mine workers suddenly without work when Trafigura announced it was closing its Myra Falls mine in mid-December.

READ MORE: ‘Very strong balance sheet’: Myra Falls Mine owner Trafigura has record profits, lays off 300

“Sadly, in our industry mines open and close,” said Bryant Schwengler, vice-president of operations and general manager of Ascot Resources. “It also put an opportunity for us to come and talk to the people here that may be looking for work, because obviously the Premier mine is ramping up and we’re in need of people.”

Ascot Resources is re-opening the Premier mine near Stewart, in northern B.C. They are offering to fly people in and out of Campbell River on a 14-day rotation.

“Premier mine is a mine that started in the 1920s, so it’s got a huge, rich history in the area of northern B.C. and we’re looking to bring it back into operation and be able to start pouring gold and producing gold bars into quarter one this year,” said Schwengler.

The North Island Employment Foundation Society is helping stage the job fair.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity anytime a worker goes through a transition like this,” said Shannon Baikie, executive director of the North Island Employment Foundation Society.

“It’s really, really difficult for them, for their families, for community, and so any way that we’re able to help them connect to either opportunities in their current industries, that’s what we’re here to do,” she said.

Ascot Resources says it’s been in contact with roughly 250 people at the job fair this week, the majority of the laid off Myra Falls workers.

“I’m just learning where I can go from here because I kind of thought I had a job for the rest of my life,” said Gilroy.

Rio Tinto, the owner of a mine in Northwest Territories, was also in Campbell River this week recruiting workers. They’re providing welcome options as laid off workers from the Myra Falls mine chart new paths.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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