Hudbay may be planning workforce reductions in the coming years, but mining will remain a key industry for the region, the Flin Flon and District Chamber of Commerce heard last week.
Regional economic development officer Perry Trusty addressed the chamber on Tuesday, Feb. 14, discussing the economic future of Flin Flon and the surrounding area.
“Mining will play a huge role in the future,” said Trusty. “Hudbay’s plans look really solid and let’s hope those plans get us through until a new deposit is discovered.”
Trusty cited ongoing exploration in the area and beyond. He mentioned ongoing work by Alamos Gold Inc. to determine whether it is feasible to revive gold mining in Lynn Lake, a four-hour drive northeast of Thompson.
“Lynn Lake was an area that had supposedly been mined out years ago,” Trusty told the chamber’s general meeting, held at the Friendship Centre Restaurant.
“To have a major gold miner up there spending time and money looking into the feasibility of an open-pit gold mine is positive, and I’m sure the provincial government is going to do everything they can to help enable that.”
Trusty feels that forestry could also play a major role in the area’s future.
“The trees regrow – it’s renewable, it’s sustainable,” he said. “That, in the long run, is an industry, based on those things.”
Trusty discussed measures that could be taken to attract business to the region, mentioning communities would be ready to welcome additional businesses and industries.
“My read on councils is that they’d be open to that sort of thing,” he said.
Trusty mentioned tax breaks and incentives as possible ways to attract businesses to the region.
He said he is encouraged by increased local capital investment, mentioning the new North of 53 Co-op store and ongoing ER upgrades at Flin Flon General Hospital as examples.
“That all shows well, in my view, for the future of our community,” Trusty said.
Based on current estimates, Hudbay plans to eliminate at least 500 jobs in Flin Flon by 2019 or 2020. This would leave about 440 positions in Flin Flon.
If, however, the company cannot find enough savings to keep the zinc plant running, reductions would total 800 to 900 positions. This would leave between 40 and 140 positions in
In both scenarios, the Lalor mine and Stall Lake mill near Snow Lake would continue to operate. Together those facilities employ about 350 people, a number of them based in Flin Flon.
Trusty is employed jointly by the City of Flin Flon, Town of Creighton and Northern Village of Denare Beach.