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Brown Calls for Meeting to Ensure Labrador West Gets Maximum Benefit from New Mine


For Immediate Release

15 May, 2024


On behalf of residents of his district, NDP MHA Jordan Brown (Labrador West) has written the Minister of Innovation Energy and Technology demanding a meeting to discuss concerns that local communities will not receive the maximum benefit from the Kami Iron Ore Project led by Champion Iron. The new mine is proposing a solely fly-in-fly-out operation that will not guarantee good paying union jobs for the residents in Labrador West. Brown says the province only needs to look across the border to Fermont which saw their population decline by 8.9% when Champion Iron restarted the Bloom Lake Mine and chose a fly-in-fly-out model instead of prioritizing hiring local workers.

 

“Allowing the proponent to rely solely on a fly-in-fly-out model will have grave social and economic consequences for the region,” Brown said. “We just have to look at the dire consequences that allowing FIFO operations had for our neighbour across the border in Fermont, Quebec.

 

“Since Champion Iron restarted Bloom Lake Mine in February 2018, the population of Fermont has dropped by 8.9%. Bloom Lake is a fully FIFO operation,” said Brown. “At the Future of Lab West Summit that you attended in March, Fermont’s Town Council warned the communities of Labrador West to reject this type of mining operation as they wished they had years earlier.

 

“Without any net benefit to ensure local unionized jobs in Labrador West, we are asking that you and department staff responsible for mining and benefits agreements come to Labrador West to meet jointly with Labrador City Council, Wabush Town Council, and myself. We would like to discuss this matter further as this proposal as it stands is not acceptable to the region.”

 

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A full transcript of Brown’s letter follows.

 

Andrew Parsons KC

Minister for Industry, Energy and Technology

Natural Resources Building

PO Box 8700

St John’s, NL

A1B 4J6



Dear Minister Parsons,


I am writing to express the concerns of the residence of Labrador West with the proposed Kami Iron Ore Project by the proponent Champion Iron.


Champion proposes in their Environmental Assessment Registration Document to build a permanent camp for Fly-In Fly-Out (FIFO) operations post construction. This is not an acceptable plan for the towns of Labrador City and Wabush. This region has had issues with FIFO during rebuilds and expansion work, but extending FIFO to the day to day operations of a mine is crossing the line for our communities.


Allowing the proponent to go this route will have grave social and economic consequences for the region. With over 600 people flying in and out of the region, that is 600 less people and their families moving into the region, that 600 less people paying property tax, that is 600 less people spending their pay in our retail market. We just have to look at the dire consequences that allowing FIFO operations had for our neighbour across the border in Fermont, Quebec.


Since Champion Iron restarted Bloom Lake Mine in February 2018, the population of Fermont has dropped by 8.9 per cent. Bloom Lake is a fully FIFO operation. During that time the other operating mine added FIFO to its operations and as people left the mine they were replaced with FIFO employees. A majority of Fermont’s businesses closed and less children are in its school system. At the Future of Lab West Summit that you attended in March, Fermont’s Town Council warned the communities of Labrador West to reject this type of mining operation as they wished they had years earlier.


We must avoid sending Labrador West down the path of its own demise. We want a community that grows and prospers. Employing only FIFO workers on a mining project for 30 plus years sends the signal that our community is a mining camp and is not worth moving to or investing in. It is unacceptable that we are giving up recreation areas, cottage country, and fishing spots for this project only to be told that a majority of the permanent employment for the next 30 years will be from other places and we must just accept that.


Without any net benefit to ensure local unionized jobs in Labrador West, we are asking that you and department staff responsible for mining and benefits agreements come to Labrador West to meet jointly with Labrador City Council, Wabush Town Council and myself. We would like discuss this matter further as this proposal as it stands is not acceptable to the region.    


Regards,     

Jordan Brown

MHA for Labrador West                       


Cc. Belinda Adams, Mayor of Labrador City

      Ron Barron, Mayor of Wabush

      Yvonne Jones, MP for Labrador

      Lisa Dempster, Minister for Labrador Affairs, Indigenous Affairs & Reconciliation

 

 

For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or eddystcoeur@gov.nl.ca


NR 15052024 Brown Calls for Meeting to Ensure Labrador West Receives Maximum Benefits from
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