“It is what it is. We’re not going to be able to control it until the price of moly comes back up, and that’s kind of the bottom line.”
The Village of Fraser Lake is still on the road to recovery one year after the Endako Mine closure.
More than 350 workers were affected by the closure, which came after a severe drop in molybdenum prices.
While Mayor Dwayne Lindstrom admits the closure was a blow to the village, residents are finding ways to make do.
“We’re not all doom and gloom. We’re still alive here. We went through this before, I believe it was 1985 when we went through a big shutdown like this, and it came back. It’s a nice little town, and everyone’s happy here yet.”
Immediately after the initial closure, Lindstrom and the province were in talks to find options for the severed workers.
This resulted in a $150,000 grant from the province to CNC for the re-training of workers.
“What we are trying to do here is try to find as much support as we can for those workers,” said MLA John Rustad at the time of the announcement. “To be able to help them with training, and help with opportunities so that they can find employment and hopefully be able to keep their families in the community and ride through this period of time with the mine not operating, to a point where the mine starts to operate again”
The courses are offered through the Fraser Lake Adult Learning Centre, and at CNC campuses in Burns Lake and Vanderhoof.
Lindstrom says people are definitely taking advantage of the courses, but some are just pursuing other career paths.
“There’s lots of empty apartment buildings in town, but people who own their homes are hanging in here and working in different camps, coming home every two weeks or whatever their schedule is. There’s also been quite a few homes sold here in Fraser Lake… Which is a good thing, in a way.”
After all, that mine wasn’t the only industry in the area.
“We still have a good logging industry here. I mean, the logging industry is in a little bit of trouble, but West Fraser Mill is here and it’s a very strong company.”
He adds that Thompson Creek Metals, which owns 75% of the Endako Mine, is keeping in close contact with Mayor and Council.
Thompson Creek maintains the mill will re-open when metal prices recovery for a consistent period, though that doesn’t appear to be in the near future.
Molybdenum prices have gone up by about 75 cents since the shutdown, but are still less than half the price in the mill’s heyday.
But progress is still progress.
“Be patient, and it’s going to come back. Our little village is pretty colourful, and we keep bouncing back. That’s just the way it is.”