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2010-04-14 at 15:51

Lac Des Iles opens again

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After being shut down for more than a year, the Lac Des Iles palladium mine is now back in production.

The operation, located about an hour north of Thunder Bay, has 180 people back on the payroll.

The mine closed in October 2008 because of low palladium prices. That price is now back up to $520 an ounce and officials with North American Palladium say the restart is well-timed to capitalize on the increase. Underground mining actually resumed about three weeks ago but company president William Biggar said they held off on the announcement until now as production of palladium concentrate just started Wednesday.

Palladium is used in mufflers for motor vehicles. Biggar said the operation plans to produce 140,000 ounces this year to feed growing demand in China and other developing countries.

Steelworkers Union president Herb Daniher said although he's pleased to see the mine reopen, he's not happy with the rehiring process. He said the company did not call back a large percentage of former Lac Des Iles workers and instead had an open hiring to rebuild the workforce.

The mine has an estimated lifespan of about 12 years.

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Rick says:
Well this is great news, a company getting back on its feet without crutches paid for and supplied by the government.

4/14/2010 4:59:57 PM
pieislandrefugee says:
Palladium is used in catalytic converters on cars, not mufflers. There are other factors involved, but when unburnt hydrocarbons pass over the surfaces inside the converter, they are chemically burned off, rather than going out the tailpipe.

thats why all the drug addicts go steal them from the dealership parking lots, so they can sell them for the big bucks palladium brings.

but glad to see it going again. minerals and natural resources will save this area of Ontario, as long as the natives dont keep hosting road blocks over every little thing.
4/14/2010 5:08:43 PM
patti says:
"He said the company did not call back a large percentage of former Lac Des Iles workers and instead had an open hiring to rebuild the workforce."

wonder why ???
4/14/2010 8:08:27 PM
fox says:
How is it possible that the company had open hiring instead of rehiring? Didn't the employees have recall rights under their contract?
4/15/2010 7:39:41 AM
Moi says:
It's a no-brainer. The company simply wanted to weed out the bad/lazy workers in order to employ people that are willing to do an honest days work.
4/15/2010 10:51:27 AM
A5000 says:
The reason some people weren't called back was because they are mining underground now...Open pit is not being mined. To be an underground miner, you need your common core certificate and a lot of the old employees do not have that. My husband was one of the people who were not called back.
4/15/2010 11:11:52 AM
buzz says:
Fox, It is because the union agreement said that after 1 year of being closed workers lost recall rights. However they did get their severance.
4/15/2010 1:04:35 PM
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