North American Tungsten has announced temporary layoffs for approximately 80 employees at the Cantung mine.
The tungsten mine, located just over the Yukon/N.W.T. border off the Nahanni Range Road, has been in production off and on since the 1960s.
The company cited lower tungsten prices and operational issues – including a disruption in power supply that shut down production for at least five day – as reasons for the layoffs.
In a June 1 news release, the company said it expected to have the power issue resolved this week.
The plan is for two rotations of mine workers to each lose a three-week shift, for a total of six weeks of layoffs.
The company expects it will be able to use ore stockpiles to continue to operate the mill and deliver its products to customers through the layoff period.
“Tungsten prices have been volatile over the last two to three years and we fully expect them to increase from their current level over time, but in the meantime, we will continue to reduce our operating expenses at Cantung,” said CEO Kurt Heikkila in the release. “We appreciate the significant contributions of our employees and understand the impact that this difficult decision has on our employees.”