Layoffs at B.C. mine site of tailings breach

The results of a tailing pond breach at Imperial Metals Corp's gold and copper mine at Mount Polley...

The results of a tailing pond breach at Imperial Metals Corp's gold and copper mine at Mount Polley in central British Columbia. (REUTERS/Cariboo Regional District/Handout)

Michael Mui, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Forty-two Imperial Metals Ltd. mill operators have been served layoff notices as mining work has ground to a halt after the Mount Polley tailings breach earlier this month.

United Steelworkers local 1-425 president Paul French said Thursday workers are worried about how long the mine will remain closed.

"How long is this going to take before they decide what the fate of the mine is?" he said. "The union believes we should start the mine up as quickly as we can." Laid off workers are being provided support from the government in the form of skills training grants, French said.

Imperial Metals has several other mines in B.C. and the union is also working to get employees moved to other locations.

"These guys are in the mill where they actually produce the ore -- operations are on hold for the mill. Everybody else is working ... on the property doing remedial work and building the dike around the dam."

He added many of the workers live in Likely, B.C., and have been doubly affected by losing their jobs and access to their local water supply.


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