North

Cantung Mine announces temporary layoffs

North American Tungsten has announced temporary layoffs for 80 workers at its Cantung Mine on the Yukon-N.W.T. border, blaming low metal prices and "operational issues" over the past month.

Company blames depressed tungsten prices, 80 workers told they'll miss one three-week work rotation

A drilling production stope at the Cantung Mine. Cantung's parent company, North American Tungsten, announced temporary layoffs for 80 of its employees due to low resource prices. (North American Tungsten)

Another mining operation located near Watson Lake, Yukon, is in financial trouble.

North American Tungsten Corporation's Cantung Mine, located north of Watson Lake on the Yukon-Northwest Territories border, has announced temporary layoffs for about 80 workers.

News of the layoffs comes just months after the Wolverine Mine in Southeast Yukon shut down earlier this year. It's another hit for the community of Watson Lake, who had up to 50 residents directly impacted by the Wolverine closure.

Several dozen people in the area work at the Cantung Mine or at companies that supply the mine, according to Rick Harder, the president of the Watson Lake Chamber of Commerce.

"Anytime there's a layoff out there, of course it affects us," says Harder, "because we have quite a few of the local people that work at Tungsten."

In a press release, North American Tungsten says the series of cutbacks will cover a six week period, and that each of the 80 workers affected will miss one work rotation of three weeks.

The mine is facing a cash crunch in part because of low tungsten prices and "operational issues" over the past 30 days. In the release, North American Tungsten says it has enough ore on hand to keep the mill running and to supply its customers.

The company doesn't say what will happen when the layoffs end in six weeks if the price has not improved.

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