Flin Flon smelting plant closure affects residents' jobs and air quality
For more than 70 years, the smelting plant's iconic smoke stack has been a fixture in Flin Flon, but last week, the plant closed its doors for good.
The closure is bittersweet for many people who live in the town.
For years, plumes of smoke spilled out over the town and now that the plant sits idle, some residents are literally breathing a sigh of relief.
Tabitha Wiebe, a Flin Flon resident, said she didn't like the smelter.
"I used to get asthma attacks all the time, now that it's shut down I can breathe," she said.
The plant polluted the air with poisonous metals such as mercury, arsenic and lead.
Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting officials said the company couldn't let the plant go on being one of Canada's worst polluters, but found it was too costly to clean up the old plant's operations.
"We would have been faced with having to build a new smelter, and new gas handling and an acid plant on top of it, and that isn't even remotely economic," said CEO Tom Goodman.
Closing the smelter has put 200 people out of work. Officials with the mining company said some employees were able to take early pensions and others may be able to find work in the mine in Snow Lake.
However, dozens of families had no choice but to pack up and leave Flin Flon for good.
- with a report from CTV's Karen Rocznik