GNWT supports centre
City to set up referrals system

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 01/99) - The Territorial government is supporting a proposal to set up a transition centre for Giant Mine workers facing layoffs.

On Monday, Canadian Auto Workers President Marc Danis said the union would submit a proposal to the GNWT's Education, Culture and Employment Department. The proposal includes a funding request.

An amount has not been released.

In a release issued by the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, Wednesday the government said, "A transition centre, will be established independent from the company and government."

The centre will offer services like crisis and credit counselling, co-ordination of job search activities, materials for preparing and mailing out resumes and job applications, career planning and job skill assessments. It will also offer information on training and educational opportunities.

As well as the transition centre, a referrals system for dealing with family and social issues will be established by the City of Yellowknife, the GNWT said. Working with the city will be Health and Social Services and NWT Chamber of Mines.

The final shift at the 51-year-old Giant Mine could come as early as Monday.

ECE is working with Human Resources Development Canada and the CAW to help workers prepare for layoffs.

The department, with HRDC, has provided information on employment insurance and career development opportunities, the GNWT said.

Once EI applications are completed and submitted, career development officers from the Canada/NWT Service Centre in Yellowknife will take over, the GNWT said.

"The career development officers will play a key role in advising workers of the full range of benefits and measures they are eligible for under the EI Act," ECE Minister Michael Miltenberger said.

Another source of assistance may come from Echo Bay Mines. If Echo Bay restarts it's Lupin gold mine, located 400 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife in Nunavut, there may be employment opportunities for Giant miners.

"We will be looking for skilled workers. We know Yellowknife is known for that," Echo Bay spokesperson Robbin Lee said.

Echo Bay's board will decide Nov. 2 if the gold mine, currently in care and maintenance, will be recommissioned. The decision must be made in time to co-ordinate resupply via the ice road.

The fate of Lupin hinges primarily on the price of gold. Gold hit $317 US an ounce in London earlier this week but fell back to $299 US Thursday. Despite the retreat, the precious metal is trading well above levels of around $255 US seen just two weeks ago.

Danis said if Lupin were to go back into production, it would be positive for the North and for the union.