American firm aims to reopen western Labrador iron mine, could create 300 jobs
The Wabush Scully Mine was closed in 2014, but prospective buyer Tacora Resources has signed a collective agreement with United Steelworkers and aims to gain court approval to purchase and reopen the mine
WABUSH, N.L.—The United Steelworkers (USW) has reached a new collective agreement with Tacora Resources Inc. as part of Tacora’s bid to reopen the Wabush Scully Mine, an open-pit iron ore operation in western Labrador.
The Scully Mine was closed in 2014 by then-owner Cleveland, Ohio-based Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. At the time, the company told The Canadian Press that dropping iron prices and increased operational costs led to its decision to shut the mine down.
The USW says reopening the mine will bring back much-needed jobs to the community of Wabush. The mine’s initial closure cost roughly 500 jobs.
“It has been three long years since the Scully Mine was closed and many people were concerned that it would be permanently abandoned,” said Marty Warren, USW director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada.
Warren continued, “We have been working tirelessly since 2014 to find a buyer for the Scully Mine assets and to bring back jobs to Wabush and Labrador West. We are cautiously optimistic about the potential community benefits of Tacora’s plan to reopen the mine.”
After Cliffs closed the mine, the operations subsequently filed for and received creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).
The CCAA is a federal act that helps financially troubled operations avoid bankruptcy and allows creditors to receive payment for amounts owing, giving organizations time to restructure their affairs, or in the case of the Scully Mine, find a buyer.
As part of the CCAA proceedings, Tacora Resources, of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, will need court approval for its proposal to purchase and reopen the Scully Mine.
The USW says that if the mine reopens it will create up to 300 jobs when full production is reached, and that those employees will be represented by the USW.
“We are pleased to announce that we have reached a five-year collective agreement with Tacora Resources Inc. to ensure that the new employees will be United Steelworkers members when the mine reopens,” said Tony DePaulo, assistant to the USW District 6 director, who led the union’s negotiations with Tacora.
DePaulo continued, “The plan put forward by Tacora promises new jobs for Wabush families and an economic boost for the community. We are anxious to see the reopening of the Scully Mine proceed as quickly as possible, for the benefit of Wabush families and the entire region.”