Nfld. & Labrador

Wabush may yet attract a new buyer, mayor says after weekend rally

Wabush residents rallied this weekend to protest plans by Cliffs Natural Resources to permanently decommission the town's defunct iron ore mine.
Wabush Mayor Colin Vardy organized a rally on Saturday to protest the decision by Cliffs Natural Resources to decommission the town's iron ore mine. (Colin Vardy )

Wabush residents rallied this weekend to protest plans by Cliffs Natural Resources to permanently decommission the town's defunct iron ore mine, with the town's mayor saying another company may yet take the site over. 

More than 200 people attended the rally on Saturday at a local field, with many holding signs that emphasized the importance of the mine to the town's economy.

The mine was shut down last year after Cliffs Natural Resources cited the rising costs of iron ore production.

Last week, the company filed claims for an environmental assessment in order to decommission and rehabilitate the site.

Town's future at stake

Many of the residents in attendance on Saturday made signs to protest the removal of one of Wabush's biggest economic forces. (Colin Vardy)

Wabush Mayor Colin Vardy said that the mine has been the important cornerstone for a healthy economy, and that the decision to decommission the mine would be damaging to the town's future.

"The people want to make sure that every opportunity is given to the company that wants to operate it, or wants to eventually operate it, and that the most consideration is given to them to ensure that we still have a future in our community," Vardy said in an interview Monday with Labrador Morning.

The town has entertained numerous suitors over the past year, and now Vardy said there are two companies that are seriously considering making an investment into the site.

One company wants to reopen the mine, and the other wants to send the equipment overseas to be sold.

Talks ongoing with MFC Industrial 

Around 200 people braved frigid temperatures on Saturday to show their support for keeping the mine in town. (Colin Vardy)

At the rally on Saturday, Vardy re-emphasized to residents that he will do whatever it takes to help keep the mine in town.

"We have to convince one company not to tear down the mine, and we also have to convince another company to invest in us."

While there is a long road ahead for the town, Vardy said that talks have restarted with MFC Industrial, and that more time is needed to allow another option to unfold. 

"We've been doing this for 50 years, we're experts in the mining industry [and] we want to do it for 50 more."

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