Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Tom Marshall says he remains confident in the future of the mining industry in his province, despite news a major iron ore mine has been shuttered.
Approximately 500 people were out of work on Tuesday after Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. said it will idle production at its Wabush mine in western Labrador immediately because the mine is no longer economically viable.
On Twitter, Marshall said he understood this was "undoubtedly a difficult decision" for the company and said he was thinking of the employees and their families. He planned to visit the community this week.
"We will continue to further opportunities for development in Labrador West," Marshall said. "We remain confident in the future of the mining industry in the region."
It's a hard blow to the small town of just over 1,800 people, MP Yvonne Jones said.
"This is a tight-knit community that has been working hard every day to make a good living and provide for their families, and it cannot be understated how major an impact this will have on every person in the area," she said in a blog post.
In a statement, Cliffs president and chief operating officer Gary Halverson said the company will spend roughly $100 million idling the mine, meaning power will not be completely shut off, leaving opportunity for them or another company to restart production in the future.
The mine, considered the third largest iron ore mine in Canada, has operated in Wabush for more than 47 years.