The delay in industry projects coming to Prince Rupert may have some residents travel to projects in the north.
A gold and silver mine north of Stewart is moving into its construction phase and the company, Pretivm Resources, stopped by the Nisga’a Hall on Aug. 23 to search for employees. The project is expected to operate for the next 18 years, and plans to employ at least 500 full-time workers.
Interest in the project was high, with 47 Nisga’a guests and 48 other guests to learn about the possible employment opportunity.
The Nisga’a Employment Skills and Training (NEST) manager Gary Patsey was there to maximize participation of Nisga’a citizens within the project. Sections of the project are in the Nass territory of the Nisga’a Nation and in April 2015 the Nisga’a signed a cooperation and benefits agreement with Pretivm.
“We’re starting to see demand for camp operations, which include general labourers, cooks, janitors and housekeepers. They’ll be releasing other positions through advertising,” Patsey said. “NEST provides demand driven training. Whatever industry in our region, and whatever skill sets are in demand as presented by the industry, we work to fill those gaps.”
Patsey said there is a demand for heavy equipment operators, construction craft workers, labourers, class one truck drivers, first aid and security personnel.
Efforts to increase the labour force in the region hinges on First Nation participation, stated a report released this month by the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table.
Eight welders in training from the Nisga’a Nation recently completed a 28-week welding program supported by NEST and they’re returning from the Lower Mainland to complete their certification at the Northwest Community College.
The Brucejack project is looking for workers from communities across the North West to work two weeks on, two weeks off. Residents of Prince Rupert would be able to continue their lives on the coast, and the company will pay to bus or fly its employees to and from its project site 65km north of Stewart. Accommodation and food will also be provided while working on site, said Pretivm’s human resource manager Aldea Lavallie.
“We want to support communities. The company encompasses the community. With the Huckleberry Mine closing it impacts all communities. We want to hire locally and keep our communities thriving,” Lavallie said at the information event on Tuesday.
Huckleberry Mines announced earlier this year that it would end its operations by Aug. 31 after 100 workers were laid off and another 160 were left to expect a similar fate.
The Brucejack mine project is hiring for October until March 2017. The company is looking for labourers and control operators for the mill department and other positions, which will be posted online.
Under the cooperation and benefit agreement with the mining company, the Nisga’a Nation will provide ongoing support for Brucejack mine operations, as long as it’s safe, environmentally sound and there are economic benefits for the Nisga’a.
NEST has taken a lead role in ensuring that job opportunities are met. Patsey said the skills and training organization has expanded its scope including industry, certified Red Seal training with employment readiness, life skills, financial planning and teaching discipline.
“There’s a significant part of our population that are really good at being trained but when they get to the work site and they get employed it’s a different ball game. We try to make sure that we turn out a very good employee,” he said.
Over the past year, NEST has built relationships with more than 45 business partners and from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 the organization has created 342 employment-related interventions that supports direct employment opportunities.
Based on the results of a feasibility study in 2012, the project expects to produce 7.3 million ounces of gold and 27.6 million ounces of silver from a 10 hectare area. The open house to work for Pretivm’s Bruckjack project also took place in Terrace and in New Aiyansh.