Labrador City -
After a five-week shutdown for most workers at the Iron Ore Co. of Canada (IOC), it was back to the job site last week.
During the shutdown, about 10 per cent of the employees remained at work, according to IOC's Michel Filion.
"We had employees who were working at assembling some equipment we just received during the (shutdown) period," he said.
Filion confirmed the company is also in the process of hiring 30 new employees. The new hires are needed to replace outgoing employees and/or operate new equipment.
"We hire them to maintain our current level of operation," said Filion. "These new workers are for both in the mine and the plant, mostly what we call operator maintainers."
The hiring process, he said, didn't come to a halt even during the shutdown and the company continues to seek good employees.
As for how the market for iron ore is affecting the mining company these days, Filion said, while there is some indication demand is getting stronger, it's not enough to base business on just yet.
"We are holding our own and we continue to sell on the spot market," he said of riding out the recession. "We are doing well, I would think, considering it could have been a lot worse."
The company's expansion plans are still stalled, Filion said, adding there is no movement on putting those plans back in motion just yet.
"The (ore) price will have to be more firm to even bring back this file on the table," he said.
Until that happens, it's business as usual for IOC and the message Filion would like to send to employees after their five-week break is all about safety.
"Keeping safety first in mind, before production, is what I would say to the workers," he commented. "Sometimes, after being away, you get out of the safety mindset, so I would encourage people to make sure they pay attention to safety as they come back to work."