The resurgence in mining and forestry in northwestern Ontario is having a transformative effect on the community of White River. The township’s once-shuttered sawmill has been up and running for the last five years as White River Forest Products, under the legendary Frank Dottori, and 25 kilometres to the north, mining mogul Stephen Roman and Harte Gold are bringing the newly christened Sugar Zone Mine to life.
Located 60 kilometres east of Barrick Gold’s gold complex, it’s the first such development in the Hemlo camp in 30 years. Harte Gold, which poured its first gold brick in mid-October, was anticipating a visit by Premier Doug Ford to White River on Oct. 24 for the underground mine’s official opening.
With a workforce of 200 locals and transient workers, plus contractors on the scene, it’s boomtown days for the community of 1,300, situated on the Trans-Canada Highway, roughly halfway between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay.
Housing is at a premium and there’s a glaring need for people to fill industry and service sector jobs, “but it’s all good news to the community,” said long-time Mayor Angelo Bazzoni.
Now on the rebound from the bleak days of 2007, when Domtar pulled stakes in White River and put 195 out of work, Bazzoni declares White River is “open for business,” and opportunity beckons.
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