Hudbay Minerals Inc. says it will close its mine in Flin Flon, Man. in 2021, ending hopes it would maintain a threadbare workforce in the town where it employed more than 800 people.
In a memo this week, Robert Assabgui, vice-president of Hudbay’s Manitoba Business Unit, told employees the company had hoped to keep the zinc plant operational, but can’t find enough ore to make it feasible.
“Despite a lot of work over the past few years, the most likely scenario is that mining operations will cease in Flin Flon in 2021,” Assabgui wrote in the memo, also sent to the Financial Post. “As a result, the Flin Flon mill will also cease operations.”
The company said it hopes to transition some of its Flin Flon employees to its operations in Snow Lake, about 210 kilometres away, where it mines and processes copper and zinc. Most of the zinc is shipped to Flin Flon for processing. But the volume of zinc from Hudbay’s Lalor mine near Snow Lake — about 59,000 tonnes in the past 12 months — isn’t enough by itself to sustain the entire Flin Flon plant.
Assabgui expressed doubt that the company would find enough zinc feed by 2021 to keep the Flin Flon plant operational. Flin Flon mayor Cal Huntley called it a “significant change” in the history of the town, which was founded in the 1930s and immediately faced the Great Depression.