Alderon Iron Ore, Government of N.L. sign benefits agreement
Alderon Iron Ore's new iron ore mine in Labrador west is one step closer to becoming a reality, with a signing this morning of a benefits agreement with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Premier Tom Marshall (centre) prepares to sign a benefits agreement, alongside Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley (left) and Alderon president and CEO Tayfun Eldem. — Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick
The agreement includes landmark requirements for the employment of apprentices, during and after construction, and other items the company has agreed to provide over the life of the mine project.
For apprentices, the agreement commits to a minimum of 15 per cent of the workforce being apprentices during construction. The construction workforce is expected to peak around 800.
Post-construction, the requirement will be for 25 per cent apprentices, from a total staff of about 400.
"One of the things we've heard a lot from are apprentices looking for placement. ... Im certain this is a major step in helping deal with that," said Premier Tom Marshall, after a photo-op of the signing of the agreement, alongside Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley and Alderon president and CEO Tayfun Eldem.
Hiring will be Labrador first, according to the document, then qualified workers provincially, then a broader search.
The benefits agreement provides employment targets aimed at encouraging more workers from identified minority groups.
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The company will provide a new, 40-space child-care centre and funding for staff.
The agreement also provides for a minimum $7-million education and training fund. That fund will come as not less than a million dollars a year for the first seven years of the mine's life.
It is still not a 100-per cent guarantee that Alderon, partnered with Hebei Iron and Steel, will bring its so-called Kami prospect in Labrador west into production. Eldem said full construction will depend on securing financing. Whether or not the project will proceed as planned will be known, he said, around the end of September.
Meanwhile, Liberal leader Dwight Ball and NDP leader Lorraine Michael did not take issue with the agreement at the time of the announcement. Both said they had questions, but generally applauded the provisions encouraging apprentice hires for the mine.