Gibraltar Mine has started calling back 34 workers laid off on April 27 because it has received its permit to reactive the Gibraltar East Pit. (Taseko Mines Ltd. photo)

Gibraltar Mine has started calling back 34 workers laid off on April 27 because it has received its permit to reactive the Gibraltar East Pit. (Taseko Mines Ltd. photo)

Gibraltar Mine receives permit, calling back laid off employees

Mining has begun in the Gibraltar East pit

Workers laid off at Gibraltar Mine north of Williams Lake are being called back to work.

The mine had been waiting for a permit to reactivate its Gibraltar East pit and as a result laid off 34 workers on April 27.

“We have received the permit and the process of calling people back to work began over the weekend,” confirmed Brian Battison, vice-president of corporate affairs, Taseko Mines Ltd. on Wednesday, May 12.“Mining operations in the Gibraltar East pit have started and will continue to ramp up mining activities.”

When contacted by the Tribune, Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb said it was great news that workers were being called back to work.

He said city council wrote a letter to Premier John Horgan and the mines minister to see if the permitting process could be sped up to prevent layoffs.

“I spoke with the minister of mines and the assistant deputy minister personally and told them the city’s concerns,” Cobb said.

During a presentation to the Cariboo Regional District on Friday, May 7, the mine’s general manager Ben Pierce said the Gibraltar East Pit is a historic pit that was first mined in 1971 through the 70s, 80s and 90s and the application to go back and mine in it again went into the provincial government in early fall 2020.

“Through 2020 as a result of COVID and the downturn in copper markets we revised the mine plan to go back into mine Gibraltar East. So part of that was pit designs and waste rock dump designs, also moving water from the Gibraltar East Pit to Granite Pit.”

Pierce said the mine had been working with the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of Environment on the permit.

The layoffs were a result of one of the loaders and several haul trucks being essentially parked until the permit was received, Pierce told the CRD.

Read more: Gibraltar Mine laying off 40 to 60 workers, awaiting permission to reopen existing pit

Two weeks ago the Ministry of Energy, Mine and Low Carbon Innovation confirmed there was a consultation process in place that was extended until May 7, 2021.

Read more: Gibraltar Mine permit change consultation period extended to May 7, 2021: energy and mines minister

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