Closure of the Gonzagues-Langlois mine - Crisis affects mining industry

    ROUYN-NORANDA, QC, Oct. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - Management of the
Gonzagues-Langlois mine in Lebel-sur-Quévillon announced yesterday at
5:00 p.m. that it was ceasing operation for an unspecified length of time.
"The crisis is beginning to affect the mining industry, which had been
improving over the last few months," said Gaétan Lyrette, representative for
the United Steelworkers (USW)/Métallos (FTQ). "We are asking the government to
increase training grants. There are currently 17 workers at the mine who are
taking classes. If the government does not step in, the closure could result
in the loss of valuable expertise."
    "We knew that the situation could not go on. All metal prices are down
except gold. Four months ago, the price of zinc was $1.25 a pound. Yesterday,
it hit $0.48. Of the 125 Steelworkers, about 10 will continue to work for
Breakwater Resources, which owns the mine. The other workers can go on
employment insurance if they need to," said Mr. Lyrette.
    The labour representative expressed concern about the negative economic
impact of the closure. "A closure like this not only has a direct impact on
companies and other regional business, but it could also lead to stagnation in
the industry overall. We need the government to take action during this
transition until the economy recovers," he said.
    On August 26, 2008, the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du
Québec (FTQ) and the USW/Syndicat des Métallos (FTQ) signed an agreement with
Breakwater Resources to bring in Tunisian workers in Abitibi-Témiscamingue and
Nord-du-Québec. At that time, the company also agreed to give priority to
hiring workers from Lebel-sur-Quévillon who have the skills, abilities and
interest in the mining field.

For further information:

For further information: Gaétan Lyrette, USW/Syndicat des Métallos
(FTQ), (819) 856-4082

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