Create your own miners

Quebec mine gets creative to fill shortage
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/06/2006

Quebec’s Sleeping Giant mine, located about 600 kilometres northwest of Montreal, was facing a severe labour shortage last year as other mines began recruiting its miners away.

“Four years ago there wasn’t any problem. No one was looking for work elsewhere because there wasn’t any. Now the demand is there and the money is there,” said Marcel Collard, the mine’s HR manager. “There’s more demand for miners than there are miners and the mines that lose out are the ones that are farther away from the city.”

Besides being one of the mines farthest from the three cities in Quebec’s Abitibi region, Sleeping Giant, owned and operated by Cambior Inc., is also one of the very few non-automated mines left in the province. Because the ore deposit is very fine, the extraction has to be done by hand, not machine. This means more miners are needed and the hard, physical labour takes its toll. With the proper training, the average career for a miner working in such a mine is about 20 to 25 years, said Collard.