Lead-zinc mine on Vancouver island reopens

The Myra Falls copper-zinc-lead mine on Vancouver Island is restarting, after nearly two years of being idled.

Nyrstar, the Swiss mining company that owns the mine, announced that it has restated the mine, following the conclusion of a new contract with Unifor, local 3019, which represents the mine’s workers

“Our members are pleased to have an opportunity to return to work,” said Unifor local president John Humphrey. “Our goal now is to work together to achieve a successful restart to mining and milling operations.”

The mine was placed into care and maintenance, laying off roughly 300 workers, in October 2015. Many of the mine’s workers were from Campbell River.

Once the mine is back in full production, the mine will employ 375 workers, the company said in a press release.

Zinc prices have fluctuated over the past year, but have generally been trending up. One year ago, zinc prices were below US$2,250 per tonne and are now at US$2,816 per tonne.

Lead prices are also up, from about US$0.80 per pound one year ago to US$1.07 per pound. The mine produces copper, zinc, lead, and some silver and gold.

The Myra Falls mine is something of an oddity. It is located in the middle of B.C.’s oldest provincial park – Strathcona Provincial Park. The Myra Falls mine was approved in 1965 through the creation of a Class B park (Strathcona-Westmin) within a Class A park.

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