The only mine in Flin Flon, Manitoba is shutting down, according to owner Hudbay Minerals Inc., but a gold mill in Snow Lake will restart.
Hudbay has confirmed plans to shut down 777 mine and the entire Flin Flon mill, zinc plant and oxygen plant by April 2022.
The 777 mine, the town’s largest employer, has been operating for 92 years in the northern Manitoba city that straddles the Saskatchewan border.
Hudbay will also be ending exploration spending around Flin Flon this year.
In a business update by Hudbay Manitoba Business Unit vice-president Rob Assabgui, the company confirmed that most Flin Flon operations will either be closed outright or placed on care and maintenance in 2022.
The last publicly released closure date for 777 and Flin Flon operations, in January, stated a shutdown would take place in the second quarter of 2022.
Assabgui and the company cited lower zinc and copper prices as a contributing reason for moving up the date.
“Copper and zinc prices have been depressed for some time now, and the future price environment remains uncertain. With current metal prices, we simply are not generating sufficient revenue today to fund all of the sustaining capital and growth projects in the Manitoba Business Unit,” said Assabgui in the update.
The update lists the current plan for Flin Flon facilities is to shut down 777 permanently, along with the zinc plant and oxygen plant. The Hudbay mill and tailings facility will be placed on care and maintenance.
Hudbay estimates the size of the company’s future workforce in Manitoba will be around 800 people, including company workers taking on duties in drilling and development at Lalor currently done by contractors.
The company estimates that around 240 Flin Flon employees could leave Hudbay between January 2020 and the expected operations closure date.
Hudbay has also confirmed plans to restart the gold mill at the New Britannia site in the community of Snow Lake and to maintain its Stall facility for the entirety of its Lalor mine’s lifespan.
The New Britannia mill upgrade will take place in 2020 and 2021. Once the New Britannia mill is refurbished, it will raise Hudbay’s total milling capacity in Snow Lake to 5,300 tonnes per day – several times larger than the minimal throughput of the Flin Flon mill.
“We are also pleased to be continuing with our plans to refurbish the New Britannia mill in 2020 and 2021 which will significantly grow our gold business in Manitoba and create 60 new jobs in the Snow Lake region. The investment in New Britannia will help to ensure that Lalor remains a strong, low cost producer and reliable employer for many years,” said Assabgui in the update.
While exploration budgets in and around Flin Flon were cut completely, exploration will continue near Snow Lake, HudBay stated.