Bathurst, N.B, March 28th 2012
Xstrata Zinc Canada announces that Brunswick Mine will close no later than March 2013, after almost half a century of mining operations.
Brunswick’s large sulphide ore body was discovered in 1953 and production began in 1964. Since then the operation has produced more than 133 million tonnes of ore and has received several national awards in recognition of its performance in health, safety and the environment. The mine had previously been scheduled to close in 2010 but efforts of the company were successful in extending the life of the mine to 2013.
Brunswick Mine General Manager Greg Ashe commented:
“We have been very successful in extending the life of Brunswick mine beyond its scheduled closure date, thanks to the efforts of Xstrata Zinc management and employees. We are now certain that less than 3 million tonnes of ore remain, which is expected to take about a year to mine.
“Mining a depleting ore body becomes progressively more difficult and, therefore, we will need to continue our focus on safety, retaining our talented workforce and controlling costs in order to extract as much as possible of the remaining ore. We currently anticipate that the mine will close in March 2013.”
Premier David Alward commended the mine for the fundamental impact it has had on the economy and society of the Chaleur Region. Recognising its positive contribution to the economy and society of Northern New Brunswick, Premier Alward said:
“Skilled workers from across the region have contributed to making the Brunswick Mine a leading economic driver and a model corporate citizen over its many years of operation,” Our government understands how critical the talents and expertise of these workers are to creating new opportunities and growth throughout the region. We are working closely with local partners to ensure affected employees and businesses can secure new opportunities with the support of a Community Action Plan.”
The mine and its employees have provided significant support to non-profit groups across the region over the operation’s life. Bathurst Mayor Stephen Brunet said despite closure, the mine’s positive impact will continue to be felt for many years. He said: “We will definitely miss their presence in our city and in our region. However, their legacy lives on in so many ways because of their support to countless projects, big and small.”
Xstrata Zinc will continue to assist employees, their families, and the community to prepare for during the transition to closure, including the Labour Force Adjustment Committee which since 2003 has been helping employees to transition to new opportunities or retirement. We are planning to hold both internal and external ‘job fairs’ for employees over the coming months.
United Steelworkers of America, Local 5385 Union President, Euclide Haché, who has been working with Xstrata Zinc on its transition plan said, “A good number of our members will be eligible for retirement. For the others, we know that our workers will be in high demand by other employers and we will work with the company to ensure they have as many options as possible.”
Xstrata Zinc has already begun a comprehensive reclamation process, which is expected to last several years beyond closure and which aims to assess the site’s environmental conditions and return it as closely as possible to its original state. This process is expected to take about five years and a small number of staff will remain on site to monitor this activity.
Today’s announcement also marks the beginning of a year of events planned to commemorate the nearly 50 years of mining at the world-class zinc mine.
Charlie Roy, Brunswick Mine’s longest serving active employee, has been appointed to lead a committee of fellow employees to plan activities celebrating the people who contributed to the long tenure of the mine. “Since the mine opened in 1964, we knew this day would eventually come. We will use the next year to prepare and to reflect on what Brunswick Mine has meant to our employees and the Chaleur region,” said Roy. “We are putting together a program that will involve our fellow workers, past and present, as well as many others from the region, in making this a true community celebration.”
About Xstrata Zinc:
Headquartered in Madrid, Spain, we are one of the world’s largest vertically integrated producers of zinc, with an annual production of about a million tons of mined zinc. We have operations in Australia, America, and Europe, including world-class mines and deposits in Northern and East Australia, Canada and Peru, and processing and refining facilities in Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Zinc is a versatile material that plays a vital role in modern society. It is an essential nutrient in human health and very useful in crop yield improvement. Zinc in galvanizing protects steel against corrosion for its use in automobiles, buildings and others. It is also used for the production of zinc die-casting alloys, brass and oxide, and in manufacturing batteries and other electrical and consumer goods.
For more information, visit www.xstratazinc.com
Xstrata Zinc, Corporate Affairs
(416) 775-1434 or (647) 534-4126
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