New Brunswick

Caribou mine near Bathurst to resume operations

The company that operates the Caribou underground mine near Bathurst said operations will restart in the next couple of weeks following a shutdown last spring. 

Process to hire 250 people underway

The Caribou mine is 50 kilometres west of Bathurst. (François Lejeune/Radio-Canada)

The company that operates the Caribou underground mine near Bathurst said operations will restart soon, following a shutdown last spring. 

The hiring process is underway now to fill 250 jobs, said Trevali Mining Corp CEO Ricus Grimbeek on Friday. 

"We expect to be up and running in the next week or two," Grimbeek said in an interview. 

Mining is expected to start early in February, with the first payable zinc production by the end of March.

The British Columbia based company announced in March 2020 that the mine was shifting into care and maintenance mode as a result of the plunging price of zinc and the coronavirus pandemic — with no timeline in place for when production could resume.

Grimbeek said the mine is able to reopen now largely because of a 50 per cent increase in zinc prices since the company halted operations last year. 

The hiring process to fill 250 jobs at Caribou mine is underway. (François Lejeune/Radio-Canada)

Another key component to the company relaunching the mine is a fixed price arrangement that's in place for two years.

"We've also been able to do a fixed price arrangement for a $1.25 [per pound] for the following two years that makes it a great opportunity, because we have one of the most volatile parts of our business out of the equation," Grimbeek said. 

Grimbeek said having a fixed price for the next two years is a key component to not only restarting operations, but also to help deal with the challenges from the pandemic. 

"If the pandemic extends, if there's a second wave — we'll be able to deal with at least that one big variable," Grimbeek said, adding that the company has three other operations around the world that they have been able to keep running through the pandemic. 

Boost to region

Friday's announcement is welcome news for the Bathurst area.

"Obviously, this is fantastic news for our region," said interim mayor Lee Stever. "These are good paying jobs, a lot of trades positions."

Stever said besides the direct jobs that will be filled, the mine's operation will provide a boost to the local economy.

"The spinoff from these mines is actually incredible for machine shops, and mechanic places and parts places. This is great for the whole area."


Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.

with files from Rachel Cave