Teck Resources dinner bittersweet, with mine closing at end of June – by CBC News Newfoundland & Labrador (June 13, 2015)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador

A mining company that’s about to shut down its copper and zinc mine near Millertown held an unusual celebration this week.

Teck Resources is closing its Duck Pond mine at the end of June, so the company invited workers and dignitaries to mark the occasion Thursday night with a sit-down dinner in Grand Falls-Windsor.

For some, Duck Pond, which opened in 2007 and has been the island’s largest underground mine, is more than just a workplace.

“Very sad. We’ve made some really good friends there,” said Sharon Coffin of Lewisporte, who started at the mine eight years ago on the security gate. She now works as an underground equipment operator. She told CBC that the closure is a big loss for the workers, but she’s remaining stoic about it.

“We spend about six months out of the year together, we’re family almost, and we look after each other,” said Coffin. “I’m still going to pursue the mining career and hoping not to have to move. But if we have to move for that — so be it.” The mine has employed more than 300 people, many of whom are from the central Newfoundland area.

Kim Rowsell of Robert’s Arm, the first woman hired for underground work at the mine, is currently employed as a scoop operator. Like Coffin, she has worked in many roles.

“I started out on a truck, and from there I moved on. I was told to take the scoop, and load myself and come to [the] surface,” said Rowsell.

“There’s not a whole lot about it that I don’t like. The money is great, the atmosphere — it’s just a great place to work. Teck has been just great to us. I am absolutely devastated, but I made a lot of really, really good friends.”

‘We will roll with the punches’

Buchans Mayor Derm Corbett said while he’d like to see the mine still operational 10 years down the road, Teck has provided employment for 30 to 40 full-time workers who live in his town.

“They’ve supported us at every term, and they will undoubtedly be missed,” he said.

“We’ve seen money flow into the town, and spin-off dollars generated from that. All good things have to tie up at some time.”

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/teck-resources-dinner-bittersweet-with-mine-closing-at-end-of-june-1.3110754

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