Sudbury

Attawapiskat chief worried about the future after mine closure

The chief of Attawapiskat FIrst Nation says he is worried about what the future holds now that production at the Victor Mine is winding down.

De Beers wrapping up production at the Victor Mine

A DeBeers worker rests in the shade of a massive mining truck at the Victor Mine in 2018. Production at the mine is now wrapping up. (Erik White/CBC)

The chief of Attawapiskat First Nation says he is worried about what the future holds now that production at the Victor Mine is winding down.

On Wednesday, De Beers said the company had finished mining at the site, which is located about 90 km west of Attawapiskat.

About 100 residents of Attawapiskat were employed at the site.

Chief Ignace Gull says it won't be easy for the workers to find other jobs within the community.

"That's going to be a tough spot for people losing their jobs just like that. Like I said it's not easy to find another job somewhere even if there is a mine in the Northwest Territories similar to what they're doing at Victor Mine up the Attawapiskat River," he said.

"It won't be easy for them to just move."

Gull says he's also worried about the future of the winter road to the community, since De Beers has helped pay for a portion of it.

Ignace Gull, new chief of Attawapiskat. (Ignace Gull/Facebook)

"For all the coastal communities, you know when DeBeers provided something like $5.3 million every year to have a good winter road. Now you know, we'll be struggling with that," he said.

"It's not easy to find that kind of money except the government will have to come up with something less than that."

The company is continuing operations at the mine until early May to process stockpiled kimberlite.

With files from Angela Gemmill

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