'What am I doing up here?' The social impact of mining jobs

About 30 women showed up at a community lunch Thursday in Yellowknife to discuss an aspect of mining that doesn't get a lot of attention - the social impacts mining jobs can have on families and spouses.

30 women discuss the domestic issues they've faced while their partners work at the mines

About 30 women met on Thursday in Yellowknife to talk about the social impacts of diamond mines on women and their families 1:12

Some women in the Northwest Territories say the social impacts of mines on families and spouses don't get enough attention.

While the mines across the territory provide jobs and income for many, some say they can also affect the well-being of those who may not be working at the site, but have a loved one who is. Meanwhile the partner of the mine worker is left at home while their loved one flies in and out from the mines.

I remember laying in the middle of my living room ... thinking, 'What am I doing up here?'- Della Green

"I was here for my 50th birthday by myself, for Christmas and New Year's by myself, and Valentine's, Easter by myself," said Della Green, who moved to Yellowknife 10 years ago when her husband got a job in the mines. "And I remember laying in the middle of my living room, and I was thinking, 'What am I doing up here?'"

Other women say they deal with more than loneliness, and also face domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse.
Della Green, who was one of 30 women that met in Yellowknife Thursday to discuss the social impacts of mining on women and their families, says there aren't enough resources to provide counselling for women whose partners work at the mines. (CBC)

They say the owners of the mines have to take more responsibility for the welfare of Northern communities — especially when a mine closes down. 

Julie Thrasher, who was one of the 30 women who showed up to the discuss the issue at a community lunch Thursday, says a mine closure can be devastating for families and communities. 

"Once the company and the business is gone, the negative impact falls and falls hard," she said. "And you see suicides, you see family break up, you see communities empty out."

Green says there aren't enough resources to provide counselling for women whose partners work at the mines. 

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