Mining sector could soon feel impact of rail blockades
SUDBURY -- The mining sector may soon feel the impact of the rail blockades and with no end in sight, industry stakeholders are worried.
"The Canadian mining industry accounts for half the total rail freight volume moved within Canada, that's a massive volume of goods and when you think about Ontario being Canada's largest mining jurisdiction, you can imagine a significant volume of that product moves on rails," said Brendan Marshall, Vice-President of the Mining Association of Canada.
Marshall says a lot of that product is moving from Ontario to other jurisdictions or it's moving to other sites, which means a lot of other companies may be reliant on some of the mining giants.
He adds the association supports the right to lawful protest. They're calling on the government to find a peaceful and lasting solution that will allow the trains to run again.
Bryan Welsh is the chair of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and he says members are concerned these rail stoppages could be allowed to continue.
"I can say to you that if this goes on any longer, there will be a definite impact and I'm sure there's going to be layoffs associated with this. CN and Via Rail already laid off I think over 1,000 people, I'm sure it's not long before Sudbury is going to be impacted by layoffs," said Welsh.
Welsh says that if materials can't go out on the rail, there's then storage of the product that can't be moved and they have to stop production.
He fears that will impact suppliers and then continue down the line, creating a trickle-down effect.
"The impact goes well beyond northern Ontario and our mines and our suppliers…We're trying to tell everyone we're a stable economy but then all of the sudden we have the whole world looking at us saying we shouldn't be investing in Canada. The stability isn't there so, all of a sudden, the mining industry…investment might slow down because it doesn't look like we're a stable place to invest money if we can't efficiently do business."
"Our members are impacted in two different ways. The first one is their reliance, once the manufactured goods are finalized to get them to market to the end user, the second piece to that is that they rely on raw products to do the manufacturing so that's another issue for them and that's when it's going to impact their operations," said Paul Bradette, Executive Director of Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association.
"Long-term is certainly going to impact the employment positions and our members' ability to continue their operations."
Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre is also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and he's been meeting with mining companies to hear their concerns.
"We hear what they're saying and we need to address this…We need to make sure that we're also listening to Indigenous communities and continuing our dialogue with them our else we're not going to get to a better spot, so it's this balance that we need to achieve," said Lefebvre.
"I know there's people out there that are saying 'you know what you should just put them all in jail and it would be easy', that's not the way it works."