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Northern mining companies hungry for skilled workers look to Myra Falls and Island

Ascot Resources approached WorkBC’s North Island Employment Foundation Society to stage two days of hiring in the mining sector on Jan. 11 and 12.

Mining companies are heading to Campbell River in the coming week in the hopes of hiring workers laid off from the Myra Falls mine who are willing to fly in and fly out of operations in northwest B.C. and in the Northwest Territories.

Ascot Resources approached WorkBC’s North Island Employment Foundation Society to stage two days of hiring in the mining sector on Jan. 11 and 12. The company seeks to fill about 60 jobs at its Premier Gold project in northwest B.C., north of Stewart.

Senior company officials will be in Campbell River for interviews in person and remotely.

Positions are for surface jobs only. No underground positions are open, said Kristina Howe, Ascot’s community relations and communications spokesperson.

The hiring event is not limited to former Myra Falls workers, and others interested in working for the company are welcome to apply, she said.

Ascot is reviving the once major Premier gold mine, which dates to the early 1900s and ceased operating a few decades ago.

It is aiming for its first gold pour by the end of the first quarter of this year. Gold is heated to the melting point and is poured into a form, such as an ingot.

There are about 200 workers on site now and more are needed as the operation embarks on active mining. Potential employees are asked to bring resumés to the hiring events.

A spokesman for Unifor, the union representing laid-off Myra Falls workers, said the shortage of skilled workers in the mining sector has seen its office bombarded with interest from mining companies since the Dec. 20 layoff.

Ascot is offering two weeks on and two weeks off shifts to workers who want to maintain their homes in the Campbell River area, Howe said.

The company’s on-site camp offers dormitory accommodation for many workers, competitive wages for permanent, full-time jobs, and a gymnasium on site, she said.

The company will cover the cost to fly workers in and out of the site. Flights would be on commercial airlines from Campbell River to Terrace. A shuttle bus would take workers from Terrace to the mine site, she said.

The company is prepared to hire people to start immediately.

Jobs include senior engineer, senior geologist, mill operations supervisor, grinding operator, electrician, and safety and training adviser.

Participants must pre-register for the event on Thursday evening from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. or for Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For those attending in person, the event will be at 920 Alder St., Campbell River. They also have the option of attending remotely.

So far, about 50 people have registered, said Shannon Baikie, executive director of the North Island Employment Foundation Society.

Laid-off workers have already been coming into the office where they can receive help with the transition and get access to services.

To register, people are asked to call 250-286-3441 or toll free 1-866-286-6788 and provide their name, phone number and email address, which day they would like to attend and if they will be there in person or virtually.

In a separate hiring initiative, Rio Tinto, owner of Diavik Diamond Mine in Northwest Territories, will have a recruitment team in Campbell River to carry out interviews in the week of Jan. 8, said LocalWork.ca. Salaries for open positions run from $33 per hour to $200,000 per year.

Positions will also mainly be two weeks on and two weeks off.

The company is looking to fill jobs such as managers of underground mining and projects, and surface operations, heavy duty mechanics, electricians and underground miners.

To apply, go to the Rio Tinto career website at riotinto.com/careers. People can email ddmi.reception@riotinto.com with a resumé.

On Jan. 10, another event is being held in Campbell River to help laid-off workers. It will include representatives of services, First Nations, local and provincial governments, and Unifor.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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