Brunswick Mine closes, leaving hundreds without work
The Brunswick Mine has closed in northern New Brunswick, leaving hundreds of people without jobs. (CTV Atlantic)
Published Wednesday, May 1, 2013 6:43PM ADT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 1, 2013 6:44PM ADT
Another Maritime community is coming to terms with the loss of another large employer.
The closure of a zinc mine after almost 50 years has left hundreds of people without jobs in northern New Brunswick.
Kenneth Smith has worked at the Brunswick Mine for 33 years and is part of the union executive.
He says the closure is a significant hit to the region.
“It’s going to be devastating,” says Smith. “We are the last big employer in the area. Our pulp mill is gone approximately six or seven years ago and there are no more big industrial employers in the area.”
The mine is located about 20 kilometres southwest of Bathurst. Over its 50 years of operations, under several owners, it has employed roughly 7,000 workers, and 700 in the last year alone.
“It does mean a lot to Bathurst, because all of our local business community depended on them for almost 50 years, but it means a lot to the region as well,” says Bathurst Mayor Stephen Brunet.
Samuel Lavigne manages a tire store in the area. He says the closure will be a big loss for his business.
“A big account for us, it will affects us to a certain degree,” says Lavigne. “In the last few years we changed a lot of stuff to compensate for the mine…we will be alright but it is definitely, yes, a big loss.”
Smith is moving to Alberta for work, but is concerned for many of his co-workers.
“Some of them are not as well prepared for finding new jobs,” says Smith. “Some (have) very specialized training in underground mining, which is hard to transfer those skills to other industries.”
The unemployment rate in Bathurst is over 20 per cent, but Brunet says not to count the city out just yet.
“We still live in the woods, so hopefully there will be something else rejuvenated with the forestry industry.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell