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Report predicts labour shortage in Timmins and area

A new report is predicting a shortage of 2,819 workers in the mining industry in the Cochrane District over the next 10 years and suggests a number of recommendations to combat the trend.

The report, released on June 6 by the Far North East Training Board (FNETB), found that there will be a 14 per cent expansion in the workforce and a retirement forecast of 30 per cent, for a combined 44 per cent deficit in the workforce between 2017 and 2027.

All nine of the active mines in the region participated in the study, as did 150 supply and service companies.

People working in the industry have been aware of the growing shortage for years, noted Julie Joncas, the FNETB’s executive director. But the sheer number of workers required was surprising given that two mines are nearing the end of their useful lives – De Beers’ Victor diamond mine is slated to close in 2019, while Glencore’s Kidd Creek base metals mine in Timmins is scheduled for closure in 2023.

According to the report, the positions needing to be filled range from underground miners to metallurgists and everything in between. Truck drivers, electricians, welders, mechanics, millwrights, and supervisors are all on the list of occupations expected to see a shortage of workers.

In addition to targeting youth, the report recommends recruitment and retention strategies.

Joncas said in some cases, the industry looks to its experienced workers to fill in some of the gaps. Some companies are bringing back former workers to mentor new hires, and enticing them out of retirement because they can’t find people to take on vacant roles.

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