Nfld. & Labrador

Wabush Mines restart: Steelworkers union announces new collective agreement

There is another development that signals the former Wabush Mines site might have a future.

'We are cautiously optimistic about the potential community benefits of Tacora's plan to reopen the mine'

Cliffs Natural Resources shut down activity at Wabush Mines in early 2014, throwing 500 people out of work. (CBC)

The United Steelworkers says it has reached a new five-year collective agreement with U.S.-based Tacora Resources, the company looking to restart the former Wabush Mines site.

"It has been three long years since the Scully Mine was closed and many people were concerned that it would be permanently abandoned," said Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada, in a news release issued Wednesday.

"We have been working tirelessly since 2014 to find a buyer for the Scully Mine assets and to bring back jobs to Wabush and Labrador West. We are cautiously optimistic about the potential community benefits of Tacora's plan to reopen the mine."

The United Steelworkers Union says it has reached a five-year collective agreement with Tacora Resources. (Kirk Sides/Conroe Courier/Associated Press)

The mine is locked in creditor protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, and court approval is still required for the company's proposal to reopen the shuttered site.

Company advertising jobs

According to its website, Tacora Resources is "looking to hire talent to go back to work on the Scully Mine."

The company says it needs to fill a variety of positions that include equipment operators, electricians, millwrights, and other staff.

A posting on the website of Minnesota-based Tacora Resources is advertising jobs with the Scully mine in Labrador West. (Tacora Resources)

Cliffs Natural Resources closed Wabush Mines in 2014, causing hundreds of people to lose their jobs.

There was a development in March when it was reported several companies were interested in purchasing the now-defunct operation — and put down a $750,000 down payment to show their intent.

CBC News confirmed at the time that one of the interested parties was Alderon Iron Ore Corp, which wanted to use the site to dispose of waste from its proposed Kami project.

In late May, the company overseeing those proceedings said talks were underway for the sale, but did not name the interested buyers.

Companies interested in purchasing Wabush Mines had to ante up a $750,000 down payment by the end of March. (John Gaudi/CBC)

When reached by phone Tuesday evening, a representative of Tacora told CBC News he couldn't comment at this time.

In a statement to CBC News on Wednesday, the Department of Natural Resources says Wabush Mines is an "important project for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. The MHA for Labrador West and the Department of Natural Resources have worked closely with interested parties."

"The mine is still under [the] Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act and there is a process to be followed ... We are pleased with the continued interest in mining in Labrador West."