Echo Bay hires Northerners
Ten Yellowknifers accept offers so far

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jan 19/00) - Echo Bay Mines, preparing to restart its Lupin gold mine, is eager to hire Northern residents, according to a company executive.

"We've always tried to hire in the North. We want to hire people in the North," said Jerry McCrank, Echo Bay vice-president of operations.

As of eight days ago, Echo Bay has hired 10 Yellowknifers and has offers on the table with eight others from the city, he said. As well, eight to 10 Yellowknifer have turned down offers.

Last week, the Canadian AutoWorkers Union, representing ex-Giant miners, and MLA Jake Ootes expressed concern that Echo Bay may bypass the North as it recommissions its mine.

As for Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk, McCrank said 27 people have been hired from the two Kitikmeot communities, four offers are on the table and four or five have turned offers down. And the company is only half way through the hiring process, said McCrank.

Some 320 people will be needed when the mine is fully operational. The company received around 3,000 resumes from across Canada.

Regarding the suggestion that Lupin will fly over Yk, McCrank said that is not the case. The company's 727 jet will fly employees to the mine from Edmonton and Yellowknife. The company will use a Northern carrier to fly staff from Cambridge Bay and Kugluktuk to the mine.

In fact, the 727 made its first stop in Yk Monday to pick up staff and take them to the mine, he said.

As for the ice road, McCrank said construction of the road is on schedule. The first truck should make its way up the road at the end of January, plus or minus four or five days, he said.

Prior to mothballing the mine in January 1998, Echo Bay employed about 75 people in the Kitikmeot. Getting back to that level will be difficult because many former Echo Bay workers took jobs with BHP, McCrank said.

The Lupin gold mine is located in Nunavut, about 400 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.