Myra Falls Mine lays off employees, enters long-term closure

Myra Falls Mine lays off employees, enters long-term closure

Myra Falls Mine will have a long-term closure due to it being “no longer financially viable,” according to a statement from Trafigura.

Trafigura is a Singapore-based metals and energy company, that owns Myra Falls Mine south of Buttle Lake.

In a statement, the company says increased operating costs and reduced metal costs mean the mine is no longer financially viable.

“We recognize that this decision will be difficult news for our employees and other stakeholders and is in no way a reflection of the hard work and commitment of our people in recent years,” Hein Frey, general manager of the Myra Falls Mine said in a statement.

“Myra Falls Mine will now undergo a period of restructuring with the aim of returning to active operations in the future when market conditions allow.”

An employee told CHEK News there are over 300 people laid off.

“It kind of sucks, you got young kids, you got a family, but you push on, life goes on,” Shawn Shwaluk, who has two young kids at home, told CHEK News. “Yeah, I hope Amazon has a good return policy on all these Christmas gifts, but it is what is.”

Josie Osbourne, minister of energy, mines and low carbon innovation, said in a statement to CHEK News the mine would be closed for at least the next 12 months.

“I know that the impact of the decision made by the company is extremely difficult for employees and contractors who work at the mine, their families, and the entire community. The Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation has community transition services that are available for people who are experiencing the loss of a major employer, and they will be reaching out to the community to offer this support,” Osbourne said.

“Their teams coordinate federal and provincial programs and work directly with the affected community to support impacted workers. If their offer of assistance is accepted, the team will work with the community by offering tailored economic development support to meet their specific needs and connect them to opportunities.”

This closure comes six years after the mine had reopened after a previous closure.

READ MORE FROM 2017: Myra Falls Mine poised to reopen

Earlier this months, Trafigura issued a statement regarding investigations by U.S., Swiss and Brazil officials due to improper payments made by former employees.

The statement says the former employee has been convicted in Brazil, sparking the investigations by officials in the U.S. and Switzerland.

In Switzerland, officials have requested charges be considered that Trafigura failed to prevent “unlawful payments.” The former chief operating officer and a former consultant are also being charged.

“We sincerely regret these incidents which breached our code of conduct and are contrary to our values,” Jeremy Weir, Trafigura executive chairman and chief executive said in a statement on Dec. 6.

“We have made extensive efforts over many years to instil a culture of responsible conduct at Trafigura. Since the period in question, we have significantly enhanced our compliance programme and controls.”

CHEK News reached out to Unifor, the union representing the workers at the mine, but did not hear back. When a response is received, this story will be updated.

-With files from CHEK’s Skye Ryan

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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