[Timmins gold mining] 56 laid off as Primero’s open pit mined out – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – August 28, 2015)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

BLACK RIVER-MATHESON – The gold mining industry in Northeastern Ontario took another hit this week.

Primero Mining Corporation announced Thursday that 56 workers have been laid off as a result of the closure of the open pit operation at the Black Fox mine, located about 10 kilometres east of Matheson. It was formerly the Brigus Gold property.

Primero’s Black Fox underground mine continues to operate, despite the layoffs in the pit, said mine general manager Dan Gagnon at a news conference in Timmins Thursday morning.

Gagnon, a veteran in mine management, was appointed as the new boss at Primero just three months ago. Gagnon made it clear the underground operation at Black Fox is continuing and provides jobs for roughly 310 employees.

It was this time last week that IAMGOLD revealed that 33 employees were to be laid off from the Côtė Lake gold project, located southwest of Gogama. IAMGOLD said the job cuts were a direct result of the lower-than-expected price of gold.

Gagnon said Thursday the layoff at Black Fox and the shutdown of the pit had more to do with the fact that the pit has been mined out, than with the fact the price of gold is hovering around U.S. $1,120 an ounce.

“The pit started in 2010 and we are basically at the bottom of the existing mineralization so there is really no chance of that pit re-igniting, but we have a lot of confidence in the Grey Fox project,” he said.

“Unfortunately this week, as a result of resources being depleted in our Black Fox open pit mine, and its subsequent closure, we announced an employee reduction at Black Fox over the last two days.

“A total of 56 employees were laid off. This included mostly open pit operators and associated services like geology, engineering and finance.”

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