Work at Thompson Creek Metals’ Endako molybdenum mine in British Columbia has been suspended because of low molybdenum prices.
About half of the mine’s salaried employees will be let go at an estimated cost of $1.7 million in severance packages, the company said in a news release.
Less than two years ago, a ceremony was held at the mine, 175 km (108 miles) west of Prince George, for the opening of a $650-million mill that nearly doubled the mine’s daily processing capacity to 55 kt (60,000 st). The mine, then 42 years old, was expected to last another 18 years, The Vancouver Sun reported.
At the time, the mine was expected to generate up to $100 million annually in economic activity such as direct wages, purchases and taxes for the region, according to the provincial government.
Thompson Creek chief executive officer Jacques Perron said in a news release that the company had expected the operational improvements implemented this year would have been sufficient to keep the Endako Mine operating during the prolonged volatility in the market.
But he said the expected molybdenum price weakness gave the company no other option but to place the mine on temporary suspension.
“We will continue to closely monitor market conditions and re-evaluate the status of the mine as market conditions warrant,” Perron said.
Fraser Lake mayor Dwayne Lindstrom called the news “devastating.”
“The suspension impacts more than 350 employees and their families here in Fraser Lake,” he said in a news release.
He said the community’s council will meet with the provincial government and other community leaders to find ways to limit the impacts.
Denver-based Thompson Creek Metals holds a 75-per-cent interest in the mine and Sojitz Moly Resources Inc., a branch of Japanese conglomerate Sojitz Corporation, holds the remaining 25 per cent.