During the so-called Great Recession of the late 2000s, several residents remarked that Flin Flon was left basically unscathed by the economic ravages occurring elsewhere in the world.
It wasn’t entirely true. The recession saw Hudbay suspend its Snow Lake operations, causing a ripple effect of layoffs that reached Flin Flon, and prompted the company to scale back its use of local contractors. Nevertheless, the notion that Flin Flon is insulated from global turbulence – that we are an economic island – gained traction during those tough times.
But globalization is a very real force in the mining industry and, by extension, Flin Flon’s economy. The acension of Donald Trump and his “America First” platform has politicized the issue of globalization down south. Here in Canada, mining globalization enjoys support from both the right and the left.
A central consequence of globalization – that mining companies are no longer reliant on any one region for their existence – carries both positive and negative implications. For much of its history, Hudbay (formerly HBM&S) was owned by the multinational behemoth Anglo American of London.
While Flin Flonners never viewed Anglo American as a perfect company, its deep pockets always promised a level of security for Hudbay, particularly during periods of depressed metal prices.
The loss of those deep pockets in 2004, when Anglo American sold Hudbay to an obscure junior miner, triggered unease throughout Flin Flon. Some workers wondered whether the new Hudbay parent could weather the inevitable downturns to come.
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