Cliffs fills labour pool – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – June 5, 2012)

 The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Cliffs Natural Resources is early in the process of developing its chromite mine in the Ring of Fire, but it’s not too soon to begin scouting for the hundreds of workers it will need to develop its Black Thor deposit and process the ore from it.

Cliffs has a talent acquisition system that is part of an automated central repository that lists all of the jobs available with the Cleveland-based company.

The posting lists hundreds of jobs that will be available in Northern Ontario, some of them at least three years from now, as it gears up to start mining its rich chromite deposit and building a ferrochrome smelter near Sudbury.

Pat Persico, the company’s director of global communications, says the project has generated a great deal of interest throughout the North. When the company has held open houses, many have people inquired about how to apply for jobs.

With the automated system, potential applicants visit Cliffs’ website, under the Careers section, and create a profile online. Applicants will be asked questions about their history and experience and can upload resumes. Applicants can return at any time to update their information, “so it’s a good applicant tracking system,” Persico said Monday.

“Yes, it’s early in the process,” said Persico of the mine expected to be in operation in 2015, “but as we get closer and we start to really actively recruit,” the company will have a bank of applicants to draw upon.

“With one project with several components, it just makes sense to have a central system,” and Cliffs already has that. That way, applicants won’t slip through the cracks, said Persico.

Like other mining companies, Cliffs recognizes that competition is fierce for skilled employees such as engineers, metallurgists and tradespeople.

“I think, early on, you want to start looking and doing the recruiting process,” said Persico.

Cliffs will eventually hire hundreds of people at its open-pit mine site, about 350 kilometres north of the town of Nakina and the Township of Greenstone, and at the smelter near Capreol. It will also need people to build a transportation corridor for the ore.

Last month, Cliffs announced it had selected the former Moose Mountain Mine site, north of Capreol, as the location for its $1.8-billion ferrochrome processing plant.

The entire Cliffs project is subject to environmental approvals by both the federal and provincial governments. Some First Nations in the area have threatened to do what they can to keep the project from going ahead, if Cliffs and the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines don’t consult more wit them.

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