Capstone Mining Corp. is hiring at Minto, despite recent bad news across the mining sector.
Alexco Resource Corp. and Yukon Zinc Corp., owners of Yukon’s two other producing mines, have both announced layoffs and other cutbacks over the last few weeks.
Yukon Zinc cut 30 per cent of the staff at the Wolverine mine, about 100 jobs.
But plans to expand Minto’s operations underground continue as planned, said general manager Ron Light.
“Unless there’s a drastic change – which can happen in mining – we’re going to be business as usual.”
The company plans to add about 46 jobs over the next year, he said.
There are currently about 350 employees at Minto.
The global mining industry has been hit hard by sharply declining commodity prices in recent months.
But the copper price has fared relatively well, only dropping about 10 per cent, said Light.
Capstone is also continually looking at ways to keep costs down, he said.
The company may actually be able to relieve some of the layoffs at the other two mines, said Light.
“I’m having my HR people contact both Alexco and Yukon Zinc in the next few days to see if there’s any people from the Yukon specifically that they will be laying off and may be interested in opportunities here. I think that’s just the good working relationship we have with the other mines.”
Michael Kokiw, executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines, says that the recent downturn has hit the industry hard.
“I do not think this is the worst it’s going to get, however I do think we’re damn near close to the end. We’ll start rebounding soon.”
Alexco and Yukon Zinc have done a good job of finding creative ways to weather the poor market conditions, he said.
“We have to admit we’re pretty impressed with the way that some of our local producers have been handling it lately. Instead of just shutting down right away and walking away, they’re making clear cuts so they’re going to be lasting for the long haul. And they’re not just clear-cutting the bottom folk, they’re cutting across the board.”
Miners are used to the industry’s cycles, but downturns will always be difficult, said Kokiw.
“It’s hard. These are professionals. These are people who know that it goes up and down, and many of these people have spent 20, 30 years in this business and they’ve been through umpteen ups and downs. So they’re comfortable with it, but at the same time nobody likes to see it.”
Contact Jacqueline Ronson at